Trout, teal and doves take center stage
It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a hunter or a fisherman because this time of the year has something for everyone and it’s all good. The brief cool down from near triple digit heat has both hunters and fishermen alike thinking of what’s in store for the coming weeks. The very first hint of hunting season starts with teal and dove season in September and if you look at the calendar that’s not too far off. Hunters of all shapes and sizes flock to the field to take advantage of the first opportunities to get back into the sport they love, the whole episode is like “big kid therapy.” Along the coast we look forward to the arrival of the bluewing teal because they will be the first ducks to visit our area on the annual migration south. This year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a proposal to set the teal season to run Sept. 11-26 after the bluewing population reached the 16-day threshold. Federal waterfowl hunting guidelines allow Texas a 16-day teal-only season when the bluewing population index exceeds 4.7 million birds. If the bluewing population is 3.3 million to 4.6 million, current federal guidelines allow Texas a nine-day teal season. The current full moon has already ushered in several big waves of teal into our area and that trend will continue for the next couple of weeks. In fact there will be one more full moon phase just before the season opens and that’s both god and bad. The good part is more birds will come down the flyway; the bad part is the ones that are already here will be headed for Mexico. Such is the luck of a waterfowler.
Conditions along the Central flyway could not be better for this time of the year as constant rains have made everything to the north of us green and fertile unlike last year. Locally our marshes are in tremendous shape as the big flush of freshwater has certainly cured some of the effects of the long dry summer. On a recent pass through some local marshes I noticed several areas that had begun to grow a couple of different types of grass that had not been in there in a couple of years. The rich fresh water has been a blessing all the way around for everyone except the fishermen in Sabine Lake but that will soon change as the rain stops and things in the lake begin to get back to normal.
Speaking of normal it’s been good to see the huge populations of shrimp in the marshes and bayous. I was running up Black’s Bayou last week and stopped to take advantage of some gulls picking shrimp that had been pushed to the surface by a herd of hungry trout. The fish we caught were small but there were plenty of them and plenty of shrimp. When we get that first little cold front towards the end of September and the north wind blows all the water out of the marsh Sabine Lake will go nuts with schooling activity and the fishing will be as hot as the summer was.
I know that first front seems like a long way off so I guess we will have to pass the time by shooting a few doves as the season opens for the North and Central zones on Sept. 1 and South Zone on the 17th. Several hunters I have spoken with recently have been reporting large numbers of doves in our area which always seems to be the case before opening weekend. Historically we get a huge rain or some goofy storm comes through and blows all the birds out, hopefully that’s not the case this year.
The coming weeks are full of promise and the seasons will overlap causing sportsmen to make a choice to either hunt or fish, either one will certainly be a winner.