The last hunt of any season is bittersweet. The last hunt of duck season even more so. No matter, if you’ve duck hunted in Texas for 60 days or 2 days – the close of the season is always filled with excitement tinged with sadness. The 2011 duck season in Texas was a tough one – doesn’t matter if you were North Texas Duck Hunting or any where else in Texas. For some reason, the ducks never came down in the volume that they had in previous years. It didn’t seem to make a difference if you had great duck hunting land in Texas or just a pond – the high volume of ducks from previous years just never showed up. There was plenty of water and left over grain so the reason for their absence will remain a mystery that only the ducks can answer.
Duck Hunting Land in Texas
If you are duck hunting in Texas, as we are, we had the opportunity to have our last hunt at one of the best duck and goose hunting locations in Texas – the Katy Prairie. This prairie is filled with rice and wheat fields and dotted with countless ponds – even known as the duck and goose capital of Texas. Most of the ponds are maintained with fresh water pumped from the nearby Colorado River. Rice farming in this area is intense and winter wheat is plentiful and this results in a terrific habitat for ducks, geese and cranes.
Few sights beat an early morning sunrise from a duck blind. The sun slowly warms the prairie and the decoys become distinct. Great duck hunting land will almost have a couple of these great vistas. The teal are usually done and gone by this time but the big birds have yet to visit. It’s time for a cup of coffee or two and to switch from 6s to 4s.
The sun peaking over the horizon is usually the harbinger of the first “real” wave of big ducks. Seems like the colder and clearer the day, the earlier the birds start working. The warmth of the sunshine while duck hunting Texas is a welcome relief as most of the coffee is usually gone by now. The dogs are starting to get anxious to get to work retrieving.
Duck Hunting in Texas
Occasionally, there is a lull in the action as the first few waves have passed and the later waves are still pending. The clouds roll in, the sun peaks through, the winds pick up a bit, maybe even change direction. A reset of the spread is needed and a welcome break to stretch the legs. It’s easy to think they are done and won’t come back – a little patience is needed. Maybe another cup of coffee. It does get cold North Texas duck hunting.
The morning wanes and the yawns are more frequent. The ducks have finally slowed down a bit and it’s time to relive the exciting moments from the morning – that long shot and the even more magnificent super long retrieve, the double – maybe even a clubhouse. Frequently, as in this situation, good duck hunting land will need some slight improvements – in this case, a couple of bundles of cut cane stalks stuck into a rice dike works like a charm.
It’s easy to measure success on the strap but I don’t think that’s the truest measure. It’s a wonder those little guys can even fly given their wing to body mass ratio – and the plumage is almost always spectacular. There’s a measure of sadness as they lay next to you, never to fly again – until you remember how good they taste hot off the grill. The duck hunting in Texas season is over and it’s time for them to fly North and make new babies for next year’s visit -farewell friends – until next time.
Duck Goose Hunting in Austin Texas
Occasionally there is a bonus, a surprise. In this case, a blue goose with some identity confusion who spent just a little too much time with the ducks. A Blue Goose, a color phase variant of the Snow Goose, is somewhat a rarity – especially a mature one with the bald white “eagle head”. You won’t see them as much North Texas Duck Hunting as you will near Houston, Texas and the Katy Prairie. Snow geese are smart – some live as long as 15 years and most that are harvested are juveniles in their first year migration. Seems like once they’ve seen the wide variety of spreads and heard enough calls they become very smart and wary. Hunting snow geese is to hunt one of the most challenging and frustrating waterfowl. To bag one, not to mention a blue goose, is a special treat, especially on the last day of the season. Duck goose hunting in Austin Texas almost always holds a surprise or two.
Enough with the pictures as they just don’t show the true action. One last chance to marvel at the magnificence of the ducks working a pond on some great duck hunting land in Texas, some amazing shots, raucous times with great friends and the hard and faithful work of a great dog.
We are blessed in Texas to have a long duck season – typically early November through end of January. We are also very fortunate to have a lot of wintering habitat with plenty of water and feed. Duck hunting in Texas is some of the best there is.