Some ducks around — lots of teal near coast

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The opening weekend of the Texas duck season arrived with cooler temperatures and a north wind blowing — perfect conditions for duck hunting.

And hunters took advantage, despite a lack of migrating birds from up north. Many hunters across the state had plenty of teal (some greenwings, mostly bluewings) in their opening day bags, along with gadwalls, scaup, wigeons and mallards.

Along the coast, Todd Steele, owner of Thunderbird Hunting Club, didn’t expect much based on what he saw before the cool front hit. But it was great shooting for his members near Palacios on Saturday and Sunday.

“For the opening day, 29 hunters bagged 172 birds for an average of 5.93 birds/gun,” Steele reported. “For the opening weekend, 43 guns shot 244 birds for an average of 5.67 birds/gun, with limits being enjoyed by 10 out of 12 groups hunting.”

Steele said more than 80 percent of the ducks shot were blue-winged teal.

North Texas hunters were pleasantly surprised, as well, during the opening weekend.

Gregory Shamoun, Dick Sayles and Jeff Roberts — along with their dog, Chance — took to the water on a ranch in Ellis County.

“It was literally spectacular,” Shamoun said. “We were absolutely swamped, and they just kept coming back. We were inundated with ducks — probably the best opening weekend we’ve ever had out there.”

He said ducks took notice of the decoys at first light, and all hunters limited for the morning. While they didn’t see any teal, the hunters noted plenty of gadwalls, wigeon, pintails and mallards.

As soon as the breeze started leaving some ripples on the water, they let the lead fly.

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