Bucks, ducks make season official

It’s official, hunting season in Texas is now 100 percent open and the results so far have been outstanding. South zone duck and goose hunters have been covered up with birds along coastal marshes for the last two weeks while deer hunters all over the state have been doing about average for this early in the year.

Local deer hunters in east Texas are reporting sporadic rutting activity due to the warmer temperatures that have been present. Overall success rates have been about average according to several lease managers I spoke with this week. Some of the best reports I have gotten have been from the lakes area, several leases near Toledo Bend have had some nice bucks taken during the past week. Almost all of the better bucks that were taken from that area were chasing does.

Hunters concentrating on food plots and corn feeders have reported steady activity from either deer or hogs due to the terrible drought that has plagued the state for the last several months. Food is scarce and the easy meals offered up at feeders are hard for most animals to pass up.
I continue to get some great stories and reports from local hunters and the opening weekend appears to go in favor of the lady hunters. Dawn Stout, of Orange, sent me a couple of photos of a pair of very nice bucks taken in Eden, Texas by her and fellow hunter Michelle Wales of Vidor.

Michelle owns the company JustForDoes.com which markets products for lady hunters such as scent free products like soaps and shampoo as well as other things the well prepared lady hunter should not be without. Both Michelle and Dawn took their bucks with archery gear so you know these ladies are serious hunters. Congrats to both on great deer.

North zone duck hunters have reported tough going over the weekend. Hunters all the way to Lake Fork are reporting slow hunts compared to last year at this same time. The early season cold fronts really pushed the ducks farther down the flyways this year instead of stalling them out to the north like years past.

The big problem is with low water conditions on playa lakes, the birds are really concentrated in small areas. It’s truly a case of feast or famine, if you have water the hunting is terrific and if you don’t have water it’s extremely difficult.

South Zone hunters continue to make due with plenty of teal and gadwall making appearances in the decoys and filling straps. The last full moon brought another push of teal down to our area but who knows how long they will hang around.

Local hunters who cross the river to hunt in Louisiana will have their first opportunity to shoot ducks this weekend as the general waterfowl season opens Saturday.

Most local marshes are void of grass which will make holding birds difficult but at least we have water. Just like our neighbors to the north the lack of water and food will certainly scatter the birds and make them a little tougher pattern. Hopefully we can get some freshwater in the system and get back to more normal.

Goose hunters on the coastal prairies are reporting really good numbers of birds for this early in the season. Compared to years past most guides agree the geese are a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.

The increased numbers of geese early in the season make for some superb combination hunts. Right now your chance at a limit of ducks along with a hefty strap of geese is really good if you are in the right places. These odds should increase as the weather continues to cool and more birds reach our area.