Texas waterfowl season dates set

DSCN1178We have the dates, but there’s still some time to wait.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission finalized this year’s waterfowl seasons at today’s public hearing as Texas hunters make ready to welcome record numbers of ducks.

According to this year’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife “Trends in Duck Breeding Populations,” estimated waterfowl production in North America’s “duck factory” are at a record high, eclipsing a record set last year. The total duck population is estimated at 48.6 million birds. This represents a 7 percent increase over last year and is 43 percent higher than the long-term average since 1955.

Much needed rainfall this year has helped rejuvenate drought stricken wetland plant communities across much of the Texas coast, hopefully setting the stage for better than usual hunting this season.

Following is a summary of the Texas late season migratory framework for 2012-13. An early season for teal statewide, and for Canada geese in the eastern goose zone, runs Sept. 15-30 with a daily bag limit of four teal and three geese.

Ducks:

High Plains Mallard Management Unit:

All species other than “dusky ducks”: Oct. 27-28, 2012 and Nov.2, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013; “Dusky ducks”: Nov. 5, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013; Youth-only Season: Oct. 20 — 21, 2012

North and South Zones:

All species other than “dusky ducks”: Nov. 3 – 25, 2012 and Dec. 8, 2012 — Jan. 27, 2013; “Dusky ducks”: Nov. 8 – 25, 2012 and Dec. 8, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013; Youth-only Season: Oct. 27-28, 2012

The daily bag limit for ducks is six, to include no more than five mallards of which only 2 may be hens; three wood ducks; two redheads; two pintails; one canvasback; and one “dusky” duck. Dusky ducks include: mottled ducks, Mexican-like duck, black duck and their hybrids. For all other species not listed, the bag limit is six. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than two hooded mergansers.

Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Geese:

Western Zone:

Light geese: Nov. 3, 2012 – Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is 20 and no possession limit.

Dark geese: Nov. 3, 2012 – Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is five in the aggregate to include no more than one white-fronted goose

Eastern Zone:

Light geese: Nov. 3, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013, the daily bag limit for light geese is 20 and no possession limit.

White-fronted geese: Nov. 3, 2012 – Jan. 13, 2013, daily bag limit is two;

Canada geese: Sept. 15-30, 2012 and Nov. 3, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013, daily bag limit is three.

Light Goose Conservation Order:

Eastern Zone:

Jan. 28 — Mar. 24, 2013, no bag or possession limits.

Western Zone:

Feb. 4 — Mar. 24, 2013, no bag or possession limits.

Sandhill Crane:

Zone A:

Nov. 3, 2012 — Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is three and possession limit is six.

Zone B:

Nov. 23, 2012 — Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is three and possession limit is six.

Zone C:

Dec. 22, 2012 — Jan. 27, 2013, daily bag limit is two and possession limit is four.

Extended Falconry Season:

Dove:

Nov. 15 — Dec. 21, 2012

Rail, gallinule, & woodcock:

Jan. 28 — Feb. 11, 2013

Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: no extended season.

North and South Duck Zones:

Jan. 28 — Feb. 11, 2013

For all zones the daily bag limit is three and possession limit is six

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