TX: Migratory Bird Report No. 23 Feb. 1, 2012

Weekly migratory bird hunting reports are posted from early
September through early February.

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Duck season ended Jan. 29
in the High Plains and results were below average due to the
drought and lack of playa lakes. Goose season runs through Feb. 5,
and outfitters who were skeptical about the season from the onset
have said this season has been a banner year for decoying action.
The Light Goose Conservation Order in the West Zone begins Feb.6,
but outfitters are expected limited participation.

North Zone Duck: Duck season ended Jan. 29 and hunters agree the
season was fair at best. Late-season rains helped habitat and
attracted more ducks, but overall hunter participation was down due
to lack of water and birds in traditional backwater bayous and
sloughs. Wood ducks were fair along wet timber throughout the
season, and mallards improved in January, especially along the
swelling Trinity River. Lots of divers were reported on Lake
O’Pines, Caddo Lake, Toledo Bend and other big water reservoirs,
but access was tough due to inoperable boat ramps because of
low-water conditions. The Sulphur River was hit-or-miss for
gadwalls, wood ducks and mallards. The prairies east of Houston saw
the steadiest hunting north of IH-10 around Devers, Nome and

South Zone Duck: As is traditionally the case, the coast was the
hotspot for ducks in Texas, namely the coastal marshes and bays.
Prairie hunters in Garwood, Eagle Lake, Wharton and Markham saw
steady action throughout the season. Pintails, shovelers, gadwalls
and teal were the most prevalent species taken on the prairie, and
large wads of greenwings showed up in force the final week of the
season. Hunters around Matagorda, Port O’Connor and Rockport saw
consistent action for redheads and pintails. Baffin Bay, Port
Mansfield and areas around the Arroyo Colorado reported excellent
shoots of pintails, redheads and wigeons from start to finish.
Goose season ended Jan. 29 and seasoned hunters said decoying
action was steady due to a good crop of juvenile birds. Hunter
participation continues to decrease annually, probably due to
difficulty in patterning birds and lack of roosting water due to
the drought. The Light Goose Conservation Order began Jan. 30.
Participation was minimal.


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