Deer hunters finish up, duck hunters change strategies
The 2014-15 deer season is nearing the end for the majority of the state of Texas and it seems like it just got started. For many local hunters this season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for a myriad of reasons. Easily the weather has been the talk of the season as crazy patterns have made figuring the deer an almost unsolvable puzzle. Crazy summer heat and heavy late season rains left many hunters scratching their heads trying to figure out how to attack the season. Supplemental feed and food plots in areas that got good rain have been the key for most hunters. The normal pattern of hunting a good section of land with an abundance of acorns or other vegetation just didn’t pan out due in large part to the strange conditions.
Now the season has not been a total bust and I certainly don’t want to paint that picture because there were some really nice deer taken locally. Newton county hunters continue to amaze me as they keep showing up with some absolutely top notch deer. It seemed like every few days I was seeing pictures of 140 class bucks that were as healthy as one could imagine. The quality of these top end deer was doubly impressive due to the conditions they dealt with during the antler growing periods and after. Many of the best animals I saw came from low fenced managed leases where the members have all made a concerted effort to take mature animals and allow younger ones a chance to grow another year or two. Take the personal initiative shown by these hunters along with the new antler restrictions and you start seeing a better class of deer. One can only imagine how much a little rain every now and again would have helped the situation. There’s always next year.
Local duck hunters in both Texas and Louisiana are headed down the home stretch and as of this past week it’s starting to get tougher. Local marshes that were red hot during the first split have become tough places to kill a limit. Many hunters are now traveling much farther to hunt in an effort to find better populations of ducks and geese. The popular theory among many local hunters is that when we started getting rain last week that many agricultural areas flooded or at least began to hold enough water to attract the birds. The key now seems to be fresh water, if you have an area that is holding fresh water you more than likely have plenty of birds. Hunters who have stayed behind in tidal marshes are watching empty skies and hoping for a big push of new birds from the north. Still others have decided to get on the road and go find the birds. Popular destinations this time of the year include the panhandle and the coast. Goose hunters near places like Lubbock and Amarillo have had a great year so far and it appears that trend will continue. Duck hunters on the coast near Port O, Rockport, and Corpus have had plenty of the normal ducks like redheads and scaup to go along with bonus populations of puddle ducks like pintails, teal and wigeon.
The final few weeks of the duck and goose season will be frantic as most all of the hunters will try to get in every last hunt they possibly can. Scouting and locating birds will become even more important as most birds will now become even spookier than normal since they have been shot at and seen every just about every trick in the book. Smaller decoy spreads, less calling, and fewer spinning wing decoys will help your odds as the season draws towards a conclusion. All of this and a little help from the weather folks could go a long way towards ending this season on a high note.