The End of Duck Hunting in Texas

The end of Texas waterfowl hunting season is always a sad and happy day for me.  Sad because I can’t get up well before the crack of dawn and go off into the cold water.  Happy because I’m tired and I need the rest.  I hunt hard and hunt ducks extra hard – that’s part of the continuing thrill for me – to see how far out there I can go to meet them where they are.  But, I have a ton of very fond memories to last me through the warm weather until they come back in the Fall.

Foggy Sunrise While Texas Duck Hunting

Wispy White Foggy Sunrise Texas Duck Hunting
Foggy Sunrise Texas Duck Hunting

I love Texas duck hunting and I’ve seen countless stunning sunrises sitting in a duck blind – some bright and crystal clear and some foggy where it just keeps rolling over in wave after wave.  We have a lot of temperature inversions in the central Texas area and early morning fog is common.  It’s especially cool to hear them well before you see them.  I wear hearing protection and amplifiers so I hear better than most of my hunting buddies.  Nevertheless, the coolest mornings are when you can hear them literally falling into the honey hole but can’t see squat.  Drive my duck dog nuts!






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Coastal Sunrise Waterfowl Hunting

Orange, Blue and Grey Multi Colored Sunrise Duck Hunting in Rockport Texas
Multi Colored Sunrise Duck Hunting in Rockport Texas

I also frequently hunt the Texas Gulf Coast in the Rockport Texas area.  I’m always amazed and the huge quantity of ducks that winter in the Gulf Coast area.  Add to that, that you can see forever down there and the sunrises never fail to amaze and you have a recipe for a once in a lifetime hunt.  We’re fortunate (or unfortunate) that our section of the coast looks East so we get the benefit of beautiful sunrises but pay for it slightly later when the sun is right in our eyes.  All things of true value, especially when Texas waterfowl hunting, require some price to be paid.






New Rig for Texas Duck Hunting

Yellow Woven Grass and Camo Stool as Texas Duck Hunting Blind Setup
Texas Duck Hunting Blind Setup

I love experimenting with my Texas duck hunting gear!  I also enjoy getting into duck hunting places that are not generally accessible to others.  I’ve been experimenting with a light weight portable blind and think I’ve finally come up with a rig that works well.  It’s easy to hide behind, very light to pack in and out, cheap (a big one) and simple to setup.  It’s made out of a couple 4 x 4 sheets of woven blind grass and a couple 4′ pieces of 3/8″ conduit with a small angle bracket bolted to the top.  It holds up quite well and is big enough to conceal me and the dog.  As the end of the season approaches, a lot of the natural blind material and hides are gone so this let’s me get into and hunt places that other’s can’t – and I like that.





Texas Duck Hunting Blind in Travel Mode

Yellow Grass Duck Hunting Blind with Orange and White Dog Ready for Transport
Duck Hunting Blind Ready for Transport

A critical aspect of my portable Texas duck hunting blind is that I can pack it in and out by hand if needed.  In this situation, I simply roll the grass mats around the conduit pipes and tie them together with bungee cords.  I can carry it as easily as I carry my gun or can strap it to my backpack for longer distances.  My dog likes it too because she can easily see around it without having to be completely covered up.  Hey, if the dog’s not happy then change what you’re doing, right?






Texas Pheasant Hunt Charity Shoot

12 Adults and Children in a Cut Hay Pasture after a Texas Pheasant Hunt
Texas Pheasant Hunt

The end of duck hunting season brings a short month of quail and pheasant charity shoots.  I was tickled this year to be invited to a Wounded Warrior shoot at Dime Box Quail.  The format was a modified drive hunt or Semi-Euro Hunt but we don’t have many cliffs in Central Texas so they just shot the pheasants out of a very large slingshot.  Yeah, interestingly enough it worked!  The walk up hunt afterward was just a fruitful and enjoyable!  Kudos to our Wounded Warriors and I’m planning on doubling my sponsorship level next year so that more veterans can take advantage of this great opportunity.






New Long Choke for Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Round Black Titanium Texas Duck Hunting Choke
Texas Duck Hunting Choke

I’m an equipment junkie, especially when it comes to shotguns and waterfowl.  I shot a few rounds at the World English Tournament in San Antonio and found this choke in the vendor market place.  I’ve known about Mueller chokes for quite some time and seen them gain some great shooters as sponsors.  I’m generally happy with my Briley chokes for my Benelli Super Black Eagle but this one caught my eye.  I tend toward tighter chokes in general with the belief that they either knock them down or miss them completely.  Non toxic shot is tough enough on crippling birds and I don’t want to improve that crippling ratio by using open chokes.  This one though – called the UFO – how could I pass it up?  My current favorite is a Buck Gardner Extended Range but the owner of Mueller chokes told me he could knock down geese at well over 60 yards so I just had to give it a try.  As luck would have it, I’m going out to the range this afternoon to break it in. I can’t wait for Texas waterfowl hunting season to open!






Little Duck Boat Modifications

New Black Steele Motor Mount on Camo Painted Boat for Duck Hunting in Texas Rivers
New Motor Mount for Duck Hunting in Texas Rivers

Lastly, my newish Little Duck Boat.  Yeah, I have a Little Duck Boat and a Big Duck Boat – well, actually, my wife has a Texas duck hunting boat fleet and she let’s me use them when I behave.  This one, a Final Attack from BeaverTail is a real sweety!  I put a 2.5 HP Coleman outboard on it ($650 from Cabelas) and she runs like a champ.  She has wheels embedded in the transom so I can drag her down to the water – no need for boat launches!  The only problem was that the motor shaft was a bit long for the boat – even using the short shaft model.  So, I had an engineering buddy build me a small metal life to get my prop even with the keel.  I tried it out last weekend and it works great.  I do get a little cavitation when the throttle is above 70% but I also can now make it through much shallower water.  That help because the low design of the boat makes it a challenge to get in and out of, especially when water is shallow and flowing more rapidly.  Honestly, this rig is everything your six-year-old self wanted in a motor boat.



Summary of End of Duck Hunting in Texas

Texas duck hunting season is over and I’m both sad and happy – at least I get to sleep in a little now – if the dog would just let me rest!  I’ll miss the glorious sunrises, the sound of ducks I can’t and the forever vistas of the Texas Gulf Coast.  My experiments with new rigs went very well this season and I’m excited about trying some new things this Fall.  Lastly, my little duck boat has a shallower draft and now I can get into even more obscure places!

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Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation

Late Summer is a favorite time because I start my preparations for Texas waterfowl hunting.  It’s time to clean and freshen the decoys, check my safety gear and do a little scouting for likely places to hunt.  My decoys take a beating every year so I like to weed out the most damaged ones and add a few new duck decoys to my mix.  I also like to do a detailed review of all of my safety gear – flashlights, knives, PFD and backpack – just to make sure that I’m prepared in case I get into a mess.  Lastly, it’s time to put the duck boat on the river and see what we can see.  I’m not a fisherman so I don’t boat much during the off-season and putting the boat back in the water for Texas waterfowl hunting always makes my heart beat a little faster.

Texas Waterfowl Hunting Decoys

Two White Boxes of Duck Decoys for Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation
New Duck Decoys for Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation

There is nothing like a couple boxes of fresh decoys waiting for me on the porch to get me excited about Texas waterfowl hunting.  I prefer Greenhead Gear decoys, and in particular, their blue winged teal and puddler packs.  They seem to be perfectly suited to the duck hunting in Central Texas.  I also love the Mojo Texas Rigs for lines and weights.  Sure, it might be a bit cheaper to make them myself but buying them ready made sure is easy.






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Personal Flotation Device

Camo Life Vest is Texas Waterfowl Hunting Safety
Camo Life Vest for Texas Waterfowl Hunting Safety

I mainly hunt the river near my house and it isn’t deep in many places.  That said, there are areas where it is easy to get in trouble and having your waders full of water can send you to the bottom or down stream very quickly.  I dislike full size PFDs but found that I can easily tolerate the quick inflate PFDs.  I don’t use the one’s with automatic inflation because I frequently take a dip in the river and don’t want it going off accidentally.  These PFDs aren’t cheap but if you read enough stories about waterfowl hunters getting into trouble on the water, I think you’ll agree that it’s a worthwhile investment.







UV Paint for Decoys

Twelve Mallard Decoys Painted for Texas Waterfowl Decoy Prep
UV Painted Texas Waterfowl Decoy Prep

I have some older, crappy decoys that don’t float very well and are mallards.  We don’t have (m)any mallards in Central Texas waterfowl hunting so these were prime candidates for an experiment.  I’ve read advertisements about special UV paint that birds can see.  I ordered the paint kit and used the UV paints on my mallard decoys.  I’m planning on running several experiments this year to see if these UV painted decoys work any differently.  Now, the chips will be stacked against these decoys because they are not only mallards but also because my decoy painting skills are horrible.  Add to that, that it will be embarrassing as all get out if I am seen by my hunting buddies doing this, especially given my atrocious decoy painting skills!








White Dog & Young Girl in Pink Along for Texas Waterfowl Scouting
Dog and Daughter Help me with Texas Waterfowl Scouting

Nothing beats a late summer scouting trip with my duck boat, dog and daughter!  The duck boat doesn’t care.  The dog is HIGHLY interested and the daughter just does it to humor her Dad.  Nonetheless, I’m always excited about the scouting trips and the endless possibilities we discover.  There aren’t any ducks here yet but finding likely spots and then access points to those spots puts me a little bit ahead of the lazier people for Texas waterfowl hunting.







Summary of Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation

Late summer preparation for Texas waterfowl hunting is an exciting time for me.  I enjoy getting new decoys and cleaning up the ones that served me so well last year.  It’s also an opportunity to check and repair my safety gear.  I’m attempting an experiment this year with UV paints on some of my older decoys.  It’s a bit embarrassing but if it works, I’ll be very pleased.  Lastly, a late summer river scouting trip with my favorite hunting buddies is always a treat – even if there aren’t any ducks here yet.

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Texas Waterfowl Hunting – Early Teal Season

Texas waterfowl season is approaching rapidly.  It’s time to start scouting general locations and getting the gear cleaned up and repaired.  While the USFWS hasn’t set the final dates for late season waterfowl, the Early Teal Season dates have been set.  Time to get ready for some hot mornings, mosquitoes and another season to Texas waterfowl hunting!





Scouting Texas Waterfowl with the Duck Dog

White Brittany and Green Boat Scouting for Texas Waterfowl
Time to Start Scouting for Texas Waterfowl

In my opinion, it’s never too early to take the dog on the duck boat and scout likely locations for Texas waterfowl hunting- especially in parts of the river that I haven’t hunted before.  I like my “known locations” and “honey holes” but I also enjoy finding new places and giving them a try.  If I can find at least one new waterfowl hunting location each year then the chances of successful hunts increases.  ANd who would even consider scouting for new duck hunting locations without taking their duck dog?








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Two Adjacent Areas for Salt Water Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Google Earth Image of an Ideal Spot for Texas Waterfowl Hunting
The Ideal Spot for Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Early teal like salt water estuaries and I like to hunt them there.  My experience tells me they tend to like open areas more in the morning and closer, more protected areas for late afternoon hunts.  I found a nice little spot that accomplishes both – open areas for the morning and some closed ponds for late afternoon. We’re fortunate with Texas waterfowl hunting to have so many choices.











Ready for the Teal!

Grey Teal Decoys against Dark Blue Storm Clouds while Texas Waterfowl Hunting
Storm Approaching While Texas Waterfowl Hunting

I also like that early teal season doesn’t require a ton of decoys.  In Texas waterfowl hunting on the salt water, it seems that about a dozen decoys works just fine to bring in small flocks of tasty birds.  I also like that teal decoys are smaller and lighter.  That salt water sure eats up a decoy though.








Redneck Texas Waterfowl Hunting Blind

Orange Deck Chair and Green Palm Leaves make a Redneck Texas Waterfowl Hunting Blind
Texas Waterfowl Hunting Blind – Redneck Style!

Another cool aspect of hunting early season teal on the Texas Gulf Coast is red neck blinds.  Teal don’t always cooperate real well and come to the nice dry wooden blinds.  No problem!  A couple of palm fronds and some lawn chairs is usually plenty of cover for the fast moving little guys.  It also makes it much easier to scout and locate birds in new areas.








Mostly Male Texas Waterfowl Harvested

7 Blue Wing Teal on Green Grass Texas Waterfowl - Early Season Teal
Early Season Teal Harvest of Texas Waterfowl

I just noticed this last year and found some online information that seemed to back it up.  Most of the birds harvested during early teal season in Texas waterfowl hunting are males.  While their plumage isn’t the best, I do find it very itneresting that most of them are males – very seldom a hen harvested.







Summary of Texas Waterfowl Hunting – Early Teal Season

Texas waterfowl hunting season is almost upon us.  Early Teal season starts in less than a month and it’s time to start getting ready – stock up on mosquito spray!  I love scouting new likely locations with my duck dog – even though there aren’t any birds yet I can always identify likely locations to give a try.  Texas Gulf Cost water fowl hunting is also a blast as it provides a variety of open and closed areas for different waterfowl preferences.  Building new blinds or using last year’s blinds isn’t necessary with early teal season – just use a redneck blind!  Most birds harvested in early teal season are males – seldom a hen to be seen – which is fine.  It’s really tough to tell drakes from hens on teal when they swoop in early in the morning and I really dislike harvesting hens.

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