Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Season opener does not disappoint

There are very few things that are as satisfying as a well thought out plan coming together and for many local hunters that’s exactly what this past weekends opener provided. Nice temps and light winds greeted local hunters as they took off into the woods and marshes as the 2023-24 Texas general hunting season opened up on Saturday.

Deer hunters and waterfowlers converged on their favorite spots as months of anticipation, planning and waiting turned into great expectations as the season got underway. For virtually every local hunter the thought of how the weird weather patterns of the past few months would affect their season was in the back of their minds and also a big unknown. Judging from many of the reports I received the drought may not have hurt as much as we feared. The whitetail hunters seemed to not be bothered much by the drought as several nice deer were taken and most hunters seemed to be pleased with the overall conditions and numbers of deer they encountered.

Local waterfowl hunters hit the marshes in big numbers on both public and private water. The yearly spectacle that is opening morning at JD Murphree did not disappoint, as the line of trucks and boats waiting to get launched looked like a parking lot after a big football game. Despite the crowd there were some solid hunts reported as most hunters took advantage of good numbers of teal, both blue wing and green wing, as well as gadwall, shovelers, and some pintails to fill most straps. The overall numbers of birds were not bad, most of those were courtesy of the coldest weather we have seen so far this year along with a big full moon that showed up at just the right time. If you had to put a grade on the opening weekend I would have to lean towards a “B minus”, it was better than expected but still has plenty of room to get better.

This weekend will be the opening weekend for those local hunters across the Sabine River as Louisiana kicks off their season. Many local waterfowl hunters cross the river and call the vast amount of marsh on the Louisiana side home during duck season. High salinity levels for most of the summer dealt many areas over there a bad hand as vegetation is more scarce than normal. Other areas that were spared some of the higher salinity levels look fantastic as widgeon grass and other duck favorites are thick. There are signs that there may still be another bloom of grass before it gets really cold and that would certainly help all of the hunters in that area.

With the big push of hunters on opening weekend now behind us things should settle down somewhat and get into a more predictable pattern. Everything from deer to ducks gets a culture shock on opening weekend as the woods and the marshes go from being quiet to basically being invaded overnight. It takes a few days for things to get settled out and that should be the case as we get farther along in the season. If you plan to get out and hunt, please remember there is no animal worth risking your safety or the safety of others. When you get the opportunity to get out please remember to take a kid and share the outdoors with the next generation. 


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