Migratory bird report
• HIGH PLAINS MALLARD MANAGEMENT UNIT: Excellent decoying action for Canada geese has been reported throughout the week. What had the looks of a lackluster season at best with drought conditions persisting has turned in to a solid season of hunting according to outfitters. However, the bleak forecast has affected hunter participation. Best hunts have come over corn and wheat. Larger Canada geese have moved in to Texas with freezing temperatures to the north. Duck hunting has been fair to good with recent precipitation, but few hunters have taken advantage. Canada goose hunting remains solid near Knox City, but ducks there have been iffy. Prospects are fair to good.
• NORTH ZONE DUCK: The region received needed rain early this week that helped hunting in backwater sloughs and bayous. Wood ducks have been good in wet sloughs and bayous. Divers, including scaup, ringed-necks, canvasbacks and a few goldeneyes, have been solid on Lake Fork, Lake O'Pines, Caddo Lake, Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn. Mallard action has improved around Palestine, Fairfield, Marshall, Longview and Texarkana. Good hunts for mallards, wood ducks and gadwalls have been had near Franklin, Centerville and Navasota. Prairie ponds near the coast have been solid, with recent rains recharging freshwater impoundments. Expect more ducks to move to inland ponds from the nearby marsh with heavy rains. Prospects are fair to good.
• SOUTH ZONE DUCK: Duck hunting has been fair to good along the coast prairie, probably due to a trio of factors, including calm, mild conditions, dense fog and a bright moon. Hunters in Garwood, Eagle Lake, El Campo and Wharton have seen scattered concentrations of ducks since an early week storm dumped flooding rains. Bay hunters have enjoyed limits of redheads and pintails, gadwalls and scaup. Good numbers of birds have been found on the flats in Port O'Connor, Seadrift, Rockport, Baffin Bay, Port Mansfield and Port Isabel. Those willing to wait on the late flight have scored limits. Goose hunters have seen best results in green fields near Wharton, Hungerford and Eagle Lake. Foggy conditions have helped decoying action. Canada goose numbers remain below average for this late in the season. White-fronted goose season closes Jan. 15. Sandhill cranes remain solid, and best shoots have come around ditches and canals close to roost ponds. Prospects are fair to good.
• SEASON/BAG LIMITS: The High Plains Mallard Management Unit runs until Jan. 29. The North and South zones also run until 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