Migratory bird report

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Migratory Bird Report

HIGH PLAINS MALLARD MANAGEMENT UNIT : Duck season continues to be plagued by the drought. Few, if any, playa lakes have water. Many ducks are using big water reservoirs for sustainable water. Best hunts have been on feed lot ponds for wigeons, gadwalls and teal. Goose numbers are improving, but few roosting waters have Canadas concentrated. Sandhill crane numbers are good over plowed ground. Prospects are fair.

NORTH ZONE DUCK: Northeast Texas continues suffer from the drought. Opening weekend of duck season was lackluster and participation was off due to lack of hunting opportunities due to no water. Sloughs and timber ponds are dry, and most lakes and reservoirs are at record low levels. Many boat ramps are not functional. Hunting has been best in the North Zone along the IH-10 corridor of the coastal prairie. Lots of greenwings, bluewings, gadwalls, shovelers and pintails were taken opening weekend on ponds able to receive water from wells. Prospects are fair only along the coastal boundary.

SOUTH ZONE DUCK: Duck hunters enjoyed excellent shoots opening weekend with limits the norm and not the exception. The coastal prairies of Garwood, Wharton, Eagle Lake, Hungerford, East Bernard, El Campo and Collegeport saw flight after flight of green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, wigeons, gadwalls and pintails. The marsh east of Houston enjoyed what many outfitters described as the best opener in years. Some hunters reported as many as nine different species in the bag, including greenwings, bluewings, scaup, gadwalls, wigeons, pintails, mallards, redheads, ringed-necks, wood ducks and a flight of surf scoters. Limits of divers were taken in Port O'Connor and Rockport. Hunters reported more gadwalls, pintails and wigeons in the back lakes with swelling tides. Snow geese continue to build along the coast, but few hunters are setting white spreads. Specklebelly numbers are solid, with estimations at 30-40 percent juvenile birds in the flock. Prospects are good.

SEASON/BAG LIMITS: The High Plains Mallard Management Unit runs Oct. 29-30, Nov. 4-Jan.29, 2012. The North and South zones run Nov. 5-27 and Dec. 10-Jan. 29, 2012.

The daily bag limit shall be six ducks, to include no more than the following: five mallards (only two of which may be hens), three wood ducks, two scaup (lesser scaup and greater scaup in the aggregate), two redheads, two pintails, one canvasback, one dusky duck (mottled duck, Mexican-like duck, black duck and their hybrids are closed the first five days of the season in each zone). All other species: Six.

Reports compiled by Bink Grimes


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