Migratory bird report
• HIGH PLAINS MALLARD MANAGEMENT UNIT: Outfitters reported fair to good hunts for ducks on playa lakes and feed lots. Ducks have congregated on warmer feed lot ponds with freezing temperatures. Goose hunting has been good over wheat and plow ground. Snow the past few weeks has encouraged Canadas to feed and lose some of their late-season wariness. Larger Canadas have shown recently with freezing temperatures to the north. Snow geese have cooperated at times, mostly with stiff winds and a low ceiling. Some runoff from snow has filled playas, but wet playas remain a premium. Prospects are fair to good.
• NORTH ZONE DUCK: Duck hunters have taken good numbers of mallards in sloughs, creeks and river bottoms. Colder weather and frozen waterways to the north have encouraged more mallards to cross the state line. Most of Northeast Texas have received good rains the past two weeks, but overall, precipitation for the year remain well below average. Canvasbacks and other divers have been steady on Lake O'Pines, Toledo Bend, Lake Fork and Cooper Lake. Coves along Sam Rayburn have held wood ducks and gadwalls. Wood ducks have been steady at first light in the timber. Hunting has remained steady around the zone boundaries of IH-10. Shovelers, gadwalls and pintails have made up the brunt of the bag. Large flocks of green-winged teal have been absent. Prospects are fair to good.
• SOUTH ZONE DUCK: The coast continues to produce steady duck shoots on the prairies, marshes and bays. Ducks had been scattered in rice fields with recent rains, but sheet water is drying up and sending birds back to traditional ponds. Gadwalls, wigeons, shovelers and pintails have been strong near El Campo, Eagle Lake, Garwood, Hungerford and Wharton. Large green-winged teal flocks have been absent on the prairie.Bay hunters have enjoyed limits to half-limits near Port O'Connor and Rockport of redheads, pintails, bluebills and the occasional wigeon. Low tides have relocated ducks from the back lakes to the shorelines. Snow geese are becoming tougher to hunt, but fog on the backside of cold fronts have helped the harvest. Many birds are using green fields of wheat and rye grass. Specklebellies have shied from calling. Sandhill crane numbers are good and most hunters are setting up along canal banks and fence rows and pass-shooting for their two-bird limit. Prospects are good.
• SEASON/BAG LIMITS: The High Plains Mallard Management Unit runs through Jan. 29. The North and South zones also run through Jan. 29.
• 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