Hunting and Fishing w/ Capt. Chuck Uzzle
Photo: Texas duck hunters will anxiously await the start of the second split.
For the Record:
Capt. Chuck Uzzle
Duck season on hold during the split while geese take center stage
The first half of duck season came to an abrupt end for most local Texas Hunters this past weekend and on Sunday it closes for Louisiana hunters as well. Reports from all along the coast were almost mirror images of one another, plenty of water meant plenty of food and areas for birds to get comfortable. The biggest key to success for most hunters was plenty of scouting and being able to adapt to changes in flight patterns that seemed to happen daily. Despite the excess water the season so far has been strong and the reports are good from the rice fields all the way to the coast. Public hunters have been doing extremely well in a few units but of respect I’ll not name names, those guys don’t take real well to that unwanted publicity. A simple call to the check stations will help you out if you are interested in some of those areas.
Well now that we won’t be able to shoot ducks until the split reopens many
hunters will either try to fish or go chase deer for a few days. The rest of the
waterfowl world will set their sights on geese and they should be able to find
some as daily it seems more birds come into the area. The numbers of geese
already in our part of the state are really up from last year at this time, the
coastal prairie is prime right now and it looks like it may only get better.
A little boost from the weatherman is all you need to help get these wary
birds down from ultra high altitudes and closer to decoying in your spread.
There are some really big concentrations of geese starting to build up locally,
as well as farther south down the coast. Hunters wanting to take advantage of
the numbers of birds around those areas really need to scout and find the flyway
these birds are using, you just can’t pick a spot and hope to decoy these birds into range because that just isn’t going to happen. Contrary to popular belief geese are really smart;
you need to do your homework to have any chance at all. Big goose spreads with
some sort of motion like flags or kites will help with getting wary birds into
range. Full camo or white suits while laying in a spread is a must, just like
gloves, facial camo or a mask should be. If the birds are coming to your decoys
don’t call too much and let them work their way in, if they try to leave give
them a call and many times they may circle back and try again. The use of a flag
is really helpful especially on young geese or Ross geese; they seem to really
like the motion and sometimes will just dive into a spread.
If you have never hunted geese before don’t get discouraged if your results
aren’t what you think they should be, geese are tough to say the least. One day
they will have you pulling your hair out wondering why you did all this work
only to be frustrated as wave after wave just flies too high over your spread or
just simply refuses to decoy. But on those days when it all works right it can
be the best feeling in the world seeing those big birds come in with their feet
down and wings cupped ready to light. One word of advice for those folks hunting
around big concentrations of geese and other hunters, do yourself a favor and
hold the “skybusting” to a minimum. Hunters who take ill advised shots at high
flying birds don’t help anybody out, especially other hunters. Snow geese are
already tough enough to hunt without educating them even more with “mile high”
shots that make even the youngest and dumbest geese seem like old veterans. Work
a little harder on the decoy placement, scouting, and calling if you want to up
your odds of success. Pay close attention to the weather and remember that fog,
low skies, and wind are the goose hunters best friend. Good luck and enjoy your
time in the field.