Ducks abundant in Central Texas this morning, less so in East Texas

amallardThe LSON crew spread out this morning in search of some late-season waterfowl action.

LSON Executive Editor Craig Nyhus and Managing Editor Conor Harrison greeted the morning in layout blinds on a pond in McLennan County. Joining them were landowner Andy McSwain and his son, Stewart, along with two of Stewart’s friends.

Everyone was excited as ducks began dive-bombing into the decoys just minutes away from shooting light. Finally the magic minute arrived, and all of the hunters had volleys that connected within minutes.

Redheads, green-winged teal, widgeon, gadwalls, ringnecks and pintails all fell within the first hour of legal shooting time. After the first rush of birds, groups of up to six or eight ducks decoyed into range throughout the next two hours. The shooting wasn’t always pretty, but the group managed 18 ducks before the McSwains, along with their friends, had to leave.

Craig and Conor hunted several more hours, and Conor was rewarded with his first mallard of the season, albeit a hen, when she came into the spread out of nowhere.

A big flock of canvasbacks flew over the pond just as the pair had gotten out of their blinds to pick up two birds. It always pays to be ready, and a golden opportunity was lost when they flared and wouldn’t return, despite some hasty calling.

David hunted a private pond in Northeast Texas and reported slower action in his area of Hopkins County.

“We shot five gadwalls,” David said. “Another group got their limit and the last group got six, I think. There weren’t a ton of birds flying. We missed one opportunity, but we got most of the birds we saw.”

The duck season ends next Sunday, Jan. 27.