Second split of duck season starts splendidly

aDSCN0780If the opening weekend of the second split of Texas’ duck season is any indication, it could be a fun winter for waterfowlers in Texas.

LSON Managing Editor Conor Harrison hunted with friends in Kaufman County, and the group of six shot limits of gadwall, wigeon, teal, pintail and one banded mallard drake in short order.

LSON executive editor Craig Nyhus hunted with friends Andy and Stewart McSwain near Axtell, and the gadwall and wigeon were cooperative, while groups of ringnecks and other divers were ignored. The group completed their limits before 8 a.m., all gadwall and wigeon — mostly drakes.

Stewart, 17, learned a lesson familiar to avid waterfowlers.

“I have my six,” he said after taking a shot.

“Really,” Nyhus replied. “You know, sometimes more than one of us were shooting at the same duck.”

“I know I got six,” Stewart said confidently.

“Well, I guess you’re done, then,” Nyhus said. “Time to unload.”

His father, Andy, kept up the ribbing.

“You can go pick up the rest of the ducks,” he said. “We’ll keep hunting.”

A few minutes later, the trio was finished, but the ducks weren’t. They kept dropping into three tanks on the property on the day before the big cold front.

“I hope they stick around,” Andy said.

Time will tell.

Farther west in Comanche County, Steve Broadhurst and son Tyler hunted a very small pond in the parched county, and shot limits of gadwall, wigeon and pintail by 7:15 a.m. on the opener of the second split. The next day, though, with son Trent added to the group, the duck traffic wasn’t quite so hot, and neither was the shooting.

“I was shooting so bad I took the shells out of my gun and put it in the case,” Steve said. “The boys shot seven.”

In each of the areas, the hunters were hopeful the ducks frequenting the ponds would stick around after temperatures dropped from the 70s to the 30s and below, while at the same time hoping the mallards would move down from the north.

Time will tell.