Youth Weekend provides great preview for season opener
Absolutely perfect conditions greeted hunters of all sizes this past weekend as the youngsters took center stage during the annual Texas Youth Weekend hunt. Crisp temperatures that covered most of Texas gave hunters a welcome break from heat and mosquitoes while hopefully providing a preview of the upcoming general season that gets underway this weekend. Judging from this past weekends results the general season opener looks very promising for all of those chasing either deer or ducks.
On Saturday I had the pleasure of taking Jack and Chad Dallas of Orange on their very first duck hunt. Both of these young hunters had already spent time in a deer blind with their dad Tony so hunting was not completely new to them even though neither one had ever been on a duck hunt.
Both Jack and Chad were wide eyed as we fired up the outboard in the dark and ran by the light of a Q-beam to our blind in the marsh. As the boat slid up to the bank and stopped my son Hunter jumped out and helped the boys unload our gear and start setting out the decoy spread.
While Hunter made the final adjustments to the spread we immediately started getting buzzed by early flying ducks. As a matter of fact several birds actually lit in the decoys while we were still setting up. As the early morning show continued in the minutes before legal shooting light we had a safety talk so everyone understood the rules and knew what was expected.
Careful communication and attention to all the safety details possible is a must, especially when you have folks new to the sport. With our talk complete there was nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy the show.
As the sun just started to turn the sky those colors you can only see from a duck blind the birds began to work and both Jack and Chad were hooked. First a group of gadwall made a nice descent into the spread followed by some widgeon. Those birds were quickly backed up by several groups of green winged teal. The action was steady and the birds cooperated for most of the morning so that in itself was memorable.
The highlight of the hunt had to be the first bird for Jack, a nice blue winged teal that decoyed just like you imagine. Even though we killed plenty of ducks none will be as memorable as that first bird. Hunters of all ages can always recall their first duck or deer with a fondness that never ever goes away, the memory is special and at the same time permanent. I felt very privileged to be a part of the whole event.
The ride back to the dock was a fun one as the boys could now see where they had traveled in the darkness. Several packs of powdered donuts and Gatorades were consumed as the young hunters celebrated their first trip like only boys can. It was exactly the kind of trip that Youth Weekend is designed for, an opportunity to get new kids involved in the sport and keep kids already involved coming back. A very successful hunt all the way around in my book.
Speaking of opening weekend, I know plenty of folks are running around making last minute preparations for Saturday. I made a pass by Daley’s Fish “n” Hunt this past week and you could certainly tell the activity level was a little higher than normal. Keith and the good folks at Daley’s have now ventured into the hunting market and have some really good stuff to choose from.
The local waterfowl hunters will really enjoy the supply of G and H decoys they carry along with the best prices on steel shot anywhere in the Golden Triangle. It’s really nice to go into a locally owned store that carries items specific to our area.
Keith told me they were trying to keep plenty of the decoys that most local hunters use, gadwall, teal, and pintails along with some goose decoys. Daley’s has quickly become a hub where many hunters and fishermen congregate so along with any supplies you need you can always catch up on a report as well.
Hopefully this weekend will be good for all who decide to hunt or fish. Be sure to enjoy it and be safe as well.