Bow season off to slow start, duck hunters making final preparations
Last updated 10/5/2021 at 6:31pm
Another opening weekend for Texas bowhunters has come and gone and the again the weather man is at the front of the conversation. Saturday morning started off as good as you could hope for this time of year with slightly cooler temperatures and light winds that made it almost feel like fall. Most years it seems the first good push of cold air always happens a week before the season opens only to give way to the heat for opening day. This was definitely not the case as it was better than average conditions for the entire weekend.
Despite the better weather it appears the hunting overall was slow for archers in east Texas. I'm sure a fair share of deer were taken but I have yet to talk with any hunters who were just covered up with deer or had much activity. A few hunters I spoke with took advantage of the opportunity to take some wild hogs since they weren't seeing many deer. The populations of hogs in Texas are at an all time high so you can just about bet if you spend any time in the woods your chances for an encounter are more than favorable.
Over on the waterfowl side hunters are making the finishing touches on land and blinds in anticipation of the season opener the first weekend of November. There have already been several flights of pintails and gadwalls sighted in the area and it shouldn't be long before the first waves of geese come streaming through. The next full moon should be accompanied by the music of snow geese while the daylight hours will include the distinct honk of speckle-bellies. These birds should have no shortage of food as rice growers all over the state were blessed with plenty of rain at just the right time. If there were ever any people who really needed a break it's the farmers, these folks are easily some of the toughest individuals you will ever meet. Each year the farmers fight against stiff odds to make a living and often times the work outweighs the profit. This year could potentially be one of those good years that will keep them going and make plenty of hunters happy in the process.
Local waterfowlers will have less than ideal conditions to deal with when the season opens as high concentrations salvinia and some extra salt water in the marshes have stifled much of the vegetation growth. In normal years when the good freshwater grasses grow the birds have plenty to eat and tend to hang around longer during the season. When we have an abundance of saltwater in the marshes the grass gets choked out and the available forage gets scarce for the birds. Saltwater coupled with the fast growing salvinia really puts a lot of hunters behind the 8 ball. During these years hunters often see birds enter our area and stay for just periods of time as they search for food. This is very similar to when the hurricanes destroyed much of the marshes in the Mississippi flyway, during that time ducks and geese jumped over to the west in search of food and Central flyway hunters had a good season. One thing is for certain the birds have got to have food and they will go where the food is at.
The outlook on the duck and goose population is optimistic and if the teal season was any indicator then it should be a good one. I know this is the same song and dance that waterfowlers hear every year only to get their hopes dashed due to a variety of reasons. Waterfowl hunters are true eternal optimists in every sense of the word, who else would endure the trials and tribulations and continue coming back for more. I don't know one hunter who like a gambler doesn't believe that their luck won't change and this is the year it starts.