Photo:  Hunters are scrambling to end their 2019-20 duck season on a high note.

Capt. Chuck Uzzle

For the Record

Just like the old saying “all good things must come to an end” the 2019-20

waterfowl season is almost over. This weekend will be the final chance for

hunters in Louisiana while Texas duck and goose hunters will have one more week

to finish as their season ends on Jan 26th. For plenty of local hunters it

feels like the season already ended as this crazy weather pattern has made

staying on the birds a challenge. Hunters who have been willing to put in the

scouting time and be flexible are still shooting their birds but they are

certainly working for them.

Without a doubt the hunters who are locked in on a freshwater pattern are having

the most success. After the last round of thunderstorms and rain the saltwater

marshes seemed to just empty out as the birds headed for the prairies and other

areas that were holding fresh water. One of the best bets has been along river

bottoms where water levels took a much needed jump after the rains. The freshly

flooded areas have been magnets for good concentrations of mallards, gadwall and

of course wood ducks. Finding an area that’s holding these concentrations is

like finding a gold mine and it certainly takes some effort so don’t think it

will be easy. Use all the resources available like satellite photos, other maps,

and good old fashioned burning gas and covering ground.

Closer to home it almost seems like September as the numbers of teal in the area

have helped fill straps for many hunters. Throughout the season there have been

waves of teal come into the area for a few days and then seemingly over night

vanish. This last big influx of green winged teal that showed up has almost

taken up residence they’ve been here so long. With no really major cold

conditions in the immediate forecast the teal should hang around for a while

longer and hopefully stay until the season ends.

With the final few days staring hunters squarely in the eye now may be the time

to make that hunt or try something different you have been putting off all

season. Put standard decoy spreads and techniques aside and try something new

like using fewer decoys. A simple spread of just a few decoys often will produce

some amazing results, especially during the last weeks of the season when the

birds get extremely skittish. Going easy on the calling also helps out as well.

Limit yourself to soft calls or whistles and leave the aggressive hail calls

alone. Also think about not even calling at all when birds are headed towards

your decoy spread, if they want in there leave them alone, no extra calling

necessary. If the ducks pass you by then give them a call, that’s a much more

natural presentation.

As we count down the days until the season officially ends it’s hard to believe

how fast it’s gone by. Every year is remembered for something and this one will

certainly be no different. Hopefully the final days of the regular will help us

to remember that this season was a good one. Take advantage of the final week

because it will seem like a lifetime until teal season rolls back around.