Cold fronts help to crank up duck numbers
Hunters and fishermen are two very separate groups that share a very common bond and that is the fact their success or failure often hinges on the same thing, weather. Very few people draw the type of criticism that a weatherman from TV or a radio station gets on a regular basis and that comes from everybody, not just outdoor folks either. During this time of the year the folks who predict the weather usually stay busy as cold fronts become more and more common.
The constant change between warm and cold offer a unique opportunity and a curse almost simultaneously. Right now the duck hunters are certainly enjoying the fact that colder weather continues to become a more common theme as each successive front ushers in new birds to the area and more opportunities for local waterfowlers.
Over the past week locally we have seen a small decrease in the numbers birds here locally as the mercury bumped the high 70’s during the day, far less than desirable conditions to hunt ducks on most days. The latest front scheduled for mid-week will coincide almost perfectly with the full moon this month which is a double shot of good fortune for waterfowl hunters.
The arrival of ducks and geese on a full moon is almost a given due to the fact that the majority of their flight during the migration takes place at night. Couple the fact that the full moon and colder weather arrive at nearly the same time and you have a winning combination for sure.
Many of the local marshes remain in outstanding shape as far as water and available food sources are concerned. The amount of good widgeon grass still around is a direct result of rains at just the right time during the summer months. It appears that many of the birds in the local marshes have begun to seek out smaller potholes that still remain full of good food sources and get very little hunting pressure.
The big water ponds seem to be still producing solid numbers but the smaller bodies of water have been the ticket for some top notch hunts. Several local hunters have even capitalized on the tiny areas and have been able to consistently take some mallards on each hunt which is a great bonus for any waterfowler, especially in our tidal marshes.
As the numbers of ducks in our area fluctuate with the weather the numbers of geese seem to continue to grow regardless of the forecast. Several big concentrations of geese have settled into our area around Sabine lake and westward towards Winnie, Anahuac, and Trinity Bay. These ultra-wary birds are nearly impossible to take in consistent numbers without some help from the weather. The biggest help a goose hunter can get from the weather is foggy conditions without a doubt. Fog helps neutralize the biggest asset a goose has and that’s their eyesight.
If you can get a good heavy fog and goose are in your area you can certainly shift the odds in your favor. Another great help for goose hunters that is directly weather related is wind. Having a good strong wind usually forces geese to fly lower and become easier to decoy. Without any help from wind or fog a goose hunter is really behind the 8 ball and usually comes out on the losing end. But with a good dose of fog and some wind a hunter may just have one of those days to remember.
Pictured: Alan Ashby of Bridge City hoists a double handful of quality ducks from a local marsh.