Ducks Over Texas

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Most species were unchanged from the previous year. Only pintails and scaups declined significantly. He says we are going to see a lot of ducks this year. But does that mean hunters will limit out? The vast habitat could actually be a drawback to successful shooting.


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We had muchos ducks on our acre lake — we estimated sometimes a thousand! But there was a similar size lake on a ranch across the fence. After a volley or two, the ducks were gone. I mentioned it to the adjoining rancher and he said the same thing happened on his lake. Reports from the Arctic goose breeding grounds, though, are bleak.

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Production was a bust. Expect only mature geese. Some of them have been coming to Texas for 30 years and have learned how to survive. Hunting will be hard.

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Advanced search. Toggle navigation Sealy News. That they looked and behaved unlike most other ducks — hanging out in trees and even roofs of buildings, preferring to stand in the shallows of wetlands instead of float and paddle like other ducks — also set them apart.

And they are a species apart. Then it exploded in the s. Like their white-winged dove relatives, black-bellied whistling ducks steadily and dramatically expanded their range, taking advantage of the abundance of stock tanks, reservoirs, ponds in urban and suburban parks and golf course ponds built over those years.

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By the s, the ducks had expanded their range to include most of the eastern two-thirds of Texas, moving into Louisiana and beyond, with all Gulf Coast states now holding populations. Nesting blackbellies have been found inland as far north as Oklahoma and Arkansas and as far up the Atlantic Coast as South Carolina.

Migratory Game Birds

Individual blackbellies have been documented across much of the nation and as far north as Minnesota. But Texas has the most — by some estimates, as many as 75 percent of the black-bellied whistling ducks that nest in the United States are Texas birds.

Like whitewings, blackbellies appear to have thrived in large part because of human-caused changes in the landscape and climate. By the early s, blackbellies had become so common and abundant on Texas coastal prairies and marshes that waterfowl managers added them to the list of waterfowl that hunters were allowed to take during duck season. Prior to , the birds had been off limits to hunters.

Texas waterfowl hunters found the whistling ducks a welcomed addition to the bag.

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Most find the birds to be among the most delicious of waterfowl. Also a benefit for waterfowlers, blackbellies are not as wary as most other waterfowl. While they almost never decoy, black-bellies, which often fly in groups, can be attracted to a set of decoys, offering good pass-shooting opportunities.

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