Goose hunters crank up conservation season
The month of January and all the cold weather associated with the New Year proved to be a winning combination for water fowl hunters all across the state. An otherwise dismal season closed out with a flurry as some of the best shoots of the year were recorded during the season’s final days. As is the case in situations like this it was “too little too late” to make up for months of frustration. Again this year hunters were left scratching their heads and wondering “where are all the ducks?”

This season like many before began with high expectations as bird counts and populations showed increased numbers of birds all along the flyway and nesting regions. In an almost carbon copy of the past season it seemed that the ducks stopped short of Texas for whatever reason that might be. If you ask hunters they will blame Ducks Unlimited for all the projects to the north, heated ponds and huge sanctuary areas full of food and void of hunters. The lack of cold weather also played a huge role in the poor showing by the ducks; it never got cold enough until so late in the season that the birds really didn’t have to migrate this far south. Whatever the combination of factors it all added up to a tough season. The last three weeks have helped put some of the bad memories aside but it won’t completely smooth everything over.

For those hunters not wanting to give up the season just yet there are still some opportunities left out there to shoot geese. Now that the regular goose is over the special conservation season is now under way. During the special season hunters are allowed to hunt with unplugged shotguns, use electronic calls, and there are no bag limits. The hunting can be excellent and well worth the effort if you do it right. Hunters must still use non-toxic shells and obey all other game laws, for further information on all the regulations concerning the special goose season consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife waterfowl digest or the web page at for all the details.

If the special conservation season doesn’t sound good to you then you still have one last option, sandhill cranes are still in season and will be until Feb. 7 in special parts of Texas. You will have to get on the road and travel some but the hunting so far this year in places out west and up north has been outstanding. Decoying these huge birds into a well placed spread is a thrill very few get to experience and certainly worth the trip. If you are searching for that last chance opportunity this is one you need to check into. If you do make the trip and get an opportunity to witness this exciting style of hunting you will understand what all the fuss is about. It’s like nothing you have ever seen before, an amazing experience that every waterfowl hunter should get to enjoy at least once.