The Texas Gulf Coast holds many thousands of ducks and is an excellent spot for some Texas duck hunting. There are numerous guides available – I recommend Ace In The Hole Guide Service for outstanding Texas Duck Hunts. Capt Brent is a long time friend an an outstanding hunting guide. Brent uses either an air boat or a shallow water jet boat and does extensive duck scouting. Duck scouting is critical for a successful Texas duck hunt on the Gulf Coast as the flocks are very large, the species widely varied and the shear amount of open water to hunt is enormous. There are numerous blinds to choose from but be prepared to get yelled at if you inadvertently use someone else’s blind. They are located on public land and can’t be privately claimed but be aware that you may be using the fruits of someone else’s labor and it may have an impact on their ability to earn a living. You can also hunt from the shore of the mud islands which is an advantage once the ducks get blind shy. No matter how to you look at it, good scouting and plenty of ducks will lead to some great Texas duck hunting on the Gulf Coast.
Cross Trained Texas Duck Retriever
My Brittany is cross trained as a retriever and I use her extensively for Texas duck hunting. Yeah, she’s an upland bird dog and pretty much anything with wings get’s her attention but she favors me by retrieving my ducks. The trade off is that she uses her nose more than her eyes so she can’t make a bee line to the downed bird – she needs to get downwind to smell it. Another tradeoff is that she insists on being able to watch the birds out of the blind. In all, it’s a small set of tradeoffs for having a dual purpose dog.
Texas Gulf Coast Duck Holding Capacity
The huge number of birds on the Texas Gulf Coast always amazes me. There is also something known as the Rockport Limit – 2 redheads and 2 pintails – usually pretty easy to accomplish. Finding ducks of other species in amongst the flocks of redheads and pintails can be a distinct challenge – an excellent opportunity to brush up on your duck identification skills. Brent Hopkins of Ace in the Hole Guide Service does an outstanding job of providing a great Texas duck hunting experience and helping you identify the singles within flocks.
Pintails while Texas Duck Hunting
The 2011-2012 Texas duck hunting season is outstanding for pintails. There are more pintails than I’ve ever seen before. Most are young birds but there are enough of them that you can wait and pick out long sprigs without worrying too much about getting your limit.
Pintails Feeding while Texas Duck Hunting
Once you’ve gotten your limit of pintails they seem to know and it is not uncommon for them to begin feeding near your location. We saw rats and rafts of pintails early in the season and it was pure joy to watch them get greedy and hop over each other to feed down the coast line. In the background, you can see Brent’s airboat – suitable for up to 5 hunters and getting out a little further from shore for a great experience Texas duck hunting!
Retrieving Your Texas Ducks
Brent Hopkins of Ace in the HOle Guide Service, in my opinion, is one of the hardest working hunting and fishing guides in Rockport. He’s also a very faithful retriever except when he get’s beat to the bird by my Brit. Nonetheless, he get’s an A for effort and has an uncanny ability to put you on the ducks for a great Texas duck hunt.
The Last Picture Show
After you’ve completed your Rockport Limit of 2 redheads and 2 pintails, the real hunt begins. Nevertheless, the scenery is stunning! The Texas Gulf Coast holds so many ducks and their movement at sunset is simply astounding. Literally, tens of thousands of redheads begin their final overnight roosting moves right at sunset and it is a spectacular display. Redheads also present a great opportunity for new or young shooters as they tend not to be shy of the blinds and will approach quite closely allowing for novices to enjoy their first Texas duck hunting and get some decent shots in.
Summary of Texas Duck Hunting on the Texas Gulf Coast
If you duck hunt the Texas Gulf Coast you’ll need a couple of things. A dog helps but is usually not necessary as the water is shallow. You’ll either need a boat and your own scouting or the services of a great guide. Find where the ducks are roosting and feeding and then either use an unused blind or hunker down behind some grass on the mud islands. You’ll need plenty of decoys – the duck flocks are large and will tend to be attracted to larger duck decoy spreads. Finally, once you’ve closed your Rockport Limit, sit back, identify ducks carefully and enjoy the show of thousands of ducks to complete your Texas duck hunting.