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 TPWD Migratory Bird Report No. 15

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Dan Gleason

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PostSubject: TPWD Migratory Bird Report No. 15   Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:41 pm

Migratory Bird Report No. 15
Weekly migratory bird hunting reports are posted from early September through early February.

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: The cold weather has encouraged new ducks to move in to the Panhandle. Playa lakes are holding mallards, wigeons, gadwalls, teal and a few pintails. Area lakes and reservoirs have been holding divers. Most hunters are targeting geese, and have done well over corn and plowed ground. Limits of Canadas have been the norm in scouted fields with a few snow geese near Etter. Ross’ geese have decoyed better than larger snows. Sandhill cranes have been solid over decoys in wheat and corn fields. Pheasant hunting has been solid as well. Though adequate water remains on playas, the region could use a fresh shot of moisture. Prospects are good.

North Zone Duck: The second split of duck season opens Dec. 11; and, though more birds have moved in to the region with the cold air, an absence of water and significant rainfall has many birds seeking refuge elsewhere. The good news is: if you have water, you have birds. Many hunters reported seeing more mallards the last weekend of the first split. The Sulphur River bottom has held good numbers of birds since its deep banks are holding water. Lakes and reservoirs are several feet below pool, leaving shallow coves as flats of mud. Wood ducks were the best bet during the first split; and, woodies have been just about anywhere with water and timber. Divers like scaup, ringed-necks, canvasback and buffleheads remain of big waters like Lake O’Pines, Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn, Lake Fork and Caddo Lake. Prospects are fair at best for the second opener.

South Zone Duck: Prospects look solid for the second split opener Dec. 11, if you have water. The coast and prairies have been abnormally dry since September and water is at a premium. Ponds that rely on LCRA canals near Garwood and Eagle Lake cannot pump new water because the canal system shuts off annually on Oct. 15. Ponds that have water are black with ducks with the lack of hunting pressure and cold fronts that have pass through Texas. Goose hunters have enjoyed solid decoying action for snows and specklebellies with adequate weather and wind, though specks have begun to become fickle to the call and white spreads. This is nothing atypical — specks have done this every year since the daily bag limit was doubled to two birds per man. With the lack of water on the prairies, large concentrations of snow geese are roosting on the limited supply of water. Hunters are worried an outbreak of cholera could occur if stagnant roost ponds are not flushed with freshwater from rains or available water wells. Prospects are good for the second opener.

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Dan Gleason
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