Texas Duck Hunting Tips and Secrets

The end of bird hunting season in Texas is always bittersweet.  I always find some great memories and lessons as I reflect back on my hunts and experiences.  This season was Good for Texas duck huntin, Excellent for dove hunting in Texas and Finally Improving for quail.  I’m about rested now and looking forward to my farming, habitat improvement and quail raising during the long hot Texas summer days as me and Jill dream about the exciting Texas bird hunts as have lined up for this Fall

Still Quiet Mornings in a Duck Blind

Blue and Grey Fog on Reflective River while Texas River Duck Hunt
Texas River Duck Hunt
I hope I never tire of watching the fog clear and sun rise with a cup of coffee and my favorite duck hunting dog in a duck blind.  We’re fortunate in Texas to have a variety of Winter weather – it provides a never ending carousel of sights and sounds from my duck blinds.  We’re also fortunate to have a wide variety of places to hunt ducks in Texas.  Rivers are generally open to anyone if you have a boat and can find a launch.  It can get crowded and I’ve been known to camp out to get my favorite spot.

Getting Portable to Hunt Ducks

Orange and White Bird Dog with Yellow Grass Mat and Camoflage Gun Case as a Mobile Duck Hunt Rig
Mobile Duck Hunt Rig
The river is very convenient for me to hunt ducks – literally right behind my house.  But, those ducks are smart and don’t seem to want to land where it is easiest to get my boat.  In those cases, it’s time to get mobile!  I find that a backpack with coffee and shells, a small set of light weight decoys, a good gun case and a rolled up grass mat with conduit posts serves me very well.  I land the boat and start the hike.  Dog likes this a lot!  It doesn’t seem to take much blind building – just a grass mat and a few posts is all it takes to break up our outline and put the big surprise on the ducks who think they’ve found a safe spot.
[ad name=”BHIT Rectangle”]

Little Duck Boat!

Camoflage Shallow Water Duck Hunting Boat on Grey Concrete by White Building
Shallow Water Duck Hunting Boat
Yeah, I’m that guy – I have 2 duck boats.  I love my Beaver Tail Final Attack for hunting where I can’t get the big duck boat launched.  This little sweety has a 2.5 horse outboard and a great little cover to keep the rain out.  THe biggest benefit of this boat is that it has rolling wheels built into the transom so it can be easily dragged. It’s just big enough for me & Dog and some dekes.

Get Skinny with the Little Duck Boat

Black Outboard Motor on a Camoflage Duck Hunting Boat Motor Mount
Duck Hunting Boat Motor Mount
Sometimes I need to get into some very skinny water in my Little Duck Boat. I had a buddy fabricate a motor mount/lift to get my motor up as high as possible.  The cavitation plate is just above the top of the water tunnel and I can run in about 3 inches of water.  I give up a little power for this but I tear up fewer props and end up having to get out of the boat less often.  I’ll take that tradeoff!

Big Floods in Texas Duck Hunting Rivers

Brown River Water and Green Grass in a Flooded Duck Hunting River
Flooded Duck Hunting River
We had a couple big floods this Fall and it really hurt the duck hunting.  The boat launch is actually another 30 feet below the water in that picture!  The biggest problem, which actually helped if you scouted enough, was that the flood cleared all the duck food out of the river and filled up their alternative resting and feeding spots.  In the past, ducks would roost on mud holes but need to come to the river to eat. The floods reversed this situation this year.  But, a little extra scouting – on foot mind you – led me to find a few spots where there was still food in the river.  This concentrated them a little bit on the river but the roost ponds still had plenty of food so it was hard to draw them to the river.  I didn’t get a single limit hunt on the river this year.

Texas Gulf Coast Duck Hunting

Black Shadows on a Red, Orange and Yellow Texas Coast Duck Hunt Sunrise
Texas Coast Duck Hunt Sunrise
I also hunt ducks on the Texas Gulf Coast.  After hunting down in the river, I always enjoy the big skies and bold sun rises that the Texas Gulf Coast has for me.  How can it get any better than this?

Get an Airboat for Texas Gulf Coast Duck Hunting!

Two People Dressed in Camoflage Duck Hunting on an Airboat
Duck Hunting on an Airboat
You can hunt ducks on the Texas gulf Coast without an airboat but you are going to be limited to mostly redheads and some pintails that don’t mind the box blinds.  As the season progresses, even the stupid readheads get blind shy.  If you want to get into skinny water where the cool ducks go, you’ll need to get an airboat.  If your guide doesn’t have an airboat, you’re either going to hunt a box blind or walk a long way through the mud and shallows.  All that said, the best part of an airboat ride is getting off that SOB at the end of the trip – nothing colder when hunting ducks in Texas!

Quick Boat Rig for Duck Hunting Blind

White Truck with Green Boat and Silver Motor for a Deep River Duck Hunting Blind
Deep River Duck Hunting Blind
Some of the duck on the river where I hunt in Texas like to hit the deeper water where the river banks are steep.  These banks are also pretty thin and don’t have much cover. It’s hard to hunt a boat based duck blind in the river and I like to be flexible and adapt to the conditions I find when I finally get where I’m going to hunt ducks.  I built a quick & dirty fold up duck blind for my boat with some light PVC tubing and some grass mats.  The grass mats just hang on the tubing and the tubing rack folds down for travel.  This let’s me get into the steep and deep areas on the river and surprise the ducks when they go into a spot that they usually aren’t hunted.  I love the looks on their little faces when I surprise them!

Steep and Deep Duck Hunting on a Texas River

Blue Fog over Green River in a Deep River Duck Hunting Spot
Deep River Duck Hunting Spot
This is a new sight for me from my new duck boat blind.  I found that I needed two extra things.  I needed a boat ladder so Dog can get in and out of the boat in deep water.  I buit a light one from 2x6s and spent a brief afternoon training Dog to use it.  She didn’t like it but quickly understood that was the way to get to the ducks.  I also had to build some extension lines for my dekes because this water is 12 feet deep and my cords were only 3 feet.  Once I got those figured out, we had some great hunts from the boat blind.

My Secret Teal Hunting Hole

Blue and Orange Sunrise in a Secret Teal Hunting Location
Secret Teal Hunting Location
I hunted ducks on a new lake in Texas this year.  This lake is mostly rocky bottom and doesn’t have much duck food.  About the only thing I ever saw out there were divers who went out to the big middle and wouldn’t decoy.  I’m not much for divers anyway.  But, while I was hunting, I noticed that flocks of teal were working a little creek.  When I scouted the little creek I found a couple shallow pools with food and the teal were in there heavy.  So, I got up a little earlier, shortened my choke, grabbed some #6s and setup on a stool right beside a dead tree.  Lo and behold the teal come thundering in there right at daylight!  My biggest challenge is getting far enough back from the dekes to have time to swing on more than one duck at a time!  This is my new teal honey hole and I love it.  Nothing like having a hot limit before sunrise!

Summary of Texas Duck Hunting Tips & Secrets

Texas duck hunting season is over and I’m sad and glad.  I had many many amazing adventures this year and learned a ton.  Mobility is important if you hunt public rivers so be prepared to land the boat and do some walking to get where the ducks are.  I also like my second duck boat to get into places where I can’t launch a boat – less hunter competition as well since these are only available to kayak duck hunters and I don’t see many of those.  Floods are a blessing and a curse.  You need an airboat to hunt ducks on the Texas Gulf Coast. Airboats are a necessary evil. You can hunt the steep and deep parts of the river if you can make a boat blind.  Scout and keep scouting – the ducks will tell you their secrets of you are willing to look and listen.