Archive for the 'Duck' Category

Outlook for the end of Waterfowl Season

Friday, January 5th, 2018
The Bigwoods on the Trinity. Waterfowl hunting

The Bigwoods on the Trinity. Waterfowl hunting

This is Passport to Texas

The regular duck season continues through January 28, in most of the state. Wildlife biologist, Dave Morrison, says overall, you still have good hunting ahead of you.

Total numbers of ducks are down. But when you take a look at the overall picture. We’re still at numbers we’ve never seen before.

The past five years offered “unbelievable” hunting, said Morrison. And while the populations of the ten species they surveyed this spring changed…it’s not bad news.

This year, five are up, five are down. But the good news is that—with the exception of pintails and scaup—all of them are above their long-term average. So, we’re still anticipating ducks showing up in Texas.

He says if you went out last season, then expect a similar outcome this season.

When you think about what Texas has been through, something that’s similar to last year is probably pretty good. Harvey wreaked havoc along our coast. But that habitat is recovering faster than anticipated. [1.5 seconds ambiance]

And for goose hunters: light goose season ends Jan. 28 in the east zone and February 4 in the west zone.

Texas is blessed; we’ve always had pretty good goose hunting here in this state. From the perspective of snow geese, we’ll have probably about the same as last year, simply because the numbers really haven’t changed.

The Texas Outdoor Annual has seasons and bag limits for all waterfowl.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Forecast for Duck and Geese in Texas

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
Duck hunting

Duck hunting

This is Passport

Although waterfowl numbers are expected to be somewhat lower than last year, they’re still near record when compared to the long term average; the total number of ducks headed south looks promising

Conditions on the coast this year are going to be better for the ducks. What’s better for the ducks is not necessarily better for duck hunters. When you have dry conditions, birds are concentrated. Now there’s going to be good habitat conditions across the coast so everybody is going to be sharing in the wealth this year.

Dave Morrison is Small Game Program Director at Texas Parks and Wildlife. He expects an above average duck season with broader distribution of birds, despite a slight down turn in overall populations compared to last year. Having said that, the outlook for goose is should be better.

I actually had the good fortune of going to the breeding grounds this summer. We spent two weeks up there in Manitoba banding geese and from what I saw, it looks like goose numbers are going to be better than last year. We saw quite a bit of young of the year in there and so production looks like it’s going to be up. When production is up for geese, it means you got a bunch of young ones coming down that have not seen this game before, makes them more available to the hunters. So hopefully, our goose season may be a little bit better this year than last.

For complete waterfowl hunting information in Texas, get the Texas Outdoor Annual. Find it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Even Non-Hunters Buy Federal Duck Stamps

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
2015-16 Federal Duck Stamp

2015-16 Federal Duck Stamp

This is Passport to Texas

Waterfowl hunters aren’t the only ones buying the federal duck stamp. Non-hunters across the state are spending $25 on the stamp to support conservation.

The federal duck stamp, which was never intended for postal use, is intended for wetland conservation.

Parks and Wildlife non-game ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford.

And even though it’s intended for duck hunters, it’s benefiting so many non-game birds. So, I recommend bird watchers and nature enthusiasts buy a duck stamp.

Hunting is only one way to use the stamp.

It makes a great gift. And for yourself, it’s a great way to go visit National Wildlife Refuges, where there’s an entry fee. That duck stamp will get you and your carload of birdwatchers in for free.

The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of endangered whooping cranes. The land was purchased in 1937 with duck stamp money.

So, just three years after the inception of the duck stamp, it was used to buy the Aransas Refuge at a time when there were only about 15 whooping cranes left. Now we have a little over 300. And so many other birds benefit from the duck stamp. When we’re protecting wetlands for ducks, we’re also saving habitat for grebes and rails and common yellow throats, and lots of shorebirds, and lots of other things that are not game birds, but really benefit from wetland conservation.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program support our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine: Ducks and Dogs

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
Jim and Lilly

Jim Remley and his new puppy, Lilly

This is Passport to Texas

A great hunting dog will leave an indelible mark on the heart of the hunter who owns it.

06—I hesitated to use the word love. But I don’t think there’s a better word than love for it.

David Sikes is the outdoor writer at the Corpus Christi Caller Times. He wrote about hunters and their dogs for the November issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

13—I’ve been duck hunting for a few decades now. So, I’ve sat beside many, many dog owners and their beloved hunting dogs, and I’ve become fascinated just by the relationship that they have.

Sikes says these highly trained animals are also loyal family pets. But when they’re in the field, they have a job to do. And when done well, they’re a source of pride.

26—The dog owners take such a sense of pride in what the dogs can accomplish. And, of course, they only take partial credit for that. Because they give the dogs credit for their intelligence. They do. The dogs that seem to perform best have more intelligence and more heart. And just more drive than others. And most of them, like some of the subjects of this story, have a special place for those special dogs they’ve had over the decades.

Such as Jim Remley’s black lab Kareem, or Rob Sawyer’s Chesapeake, Nellie, or even Harvey Evans’ Chesapeake named Taffy that also helped him sell crackers in the 1950s. Read about all of them in David Sikes piece in this month’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting Teal in Texas

Thursday, September 10th, 2015
Up early to hunt teal.

Up early to hunt teal.

This is Passport to Texas

Good environmental conditions in teal’s northern nesting areas mean more birds and a 16-day early season in Texas.

16—Blue-wings are the most abundant, and are very common to Texas early and late in the year. Green-wing teal are kind of our winter residents. And Cinnamon Teal, for the most part, are more of a western bird. They’re not real common in Texas, but we do encounter them from time-to-time.

Kevin Kraai, waterfowl program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife, says teal do not behave quite like other duck species.

24—One thing I like to tell hunters is these birds are actively migrating this time of year; it’s very dynamic from one day to the next. So, just wake up and go. You never know if today is the day that the migration is going to be strong. You can go out one day and there will be nothing, and go out the next and be covered up in them. So, I just say wake up and go. Find good shallow habitat, shallow water that has abundant food. And there’s a really good chance there’ll be teal there that day.

The season opens Saturday, September 12 and closes Sunday, September 27, with a six bird daily bag limit.

19—We haven’t looked this good in a long time. Right now we have abundant freshwater, from the Texas High Plains in the panhandle, all the way down to the Texas coast.

Find more hunting information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series. Through your purchases of hunting and fishing equipment, and motorboat fuels, over 40 million dollars in conservation efforts are funded in Texas each year.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.