By Kyle Shaney
Waterfowl numbers are at an all time high across the state of Texas this year and the forecast is looking good.
Texas has received more than its fare share of rain this year. For duck hunters it could be a great opportunity to hunt areas that are normally bone dry. The High Plains Mallard Management (HPMM) unit encompasses all the North Texas prairie pothole country and with the rain we have had this year, those potholes are filling up. Small ponds and lakes throughout the region provide great loafing and stopping points for groups of migrating birds. It also means that small pockets of public land may become larger pockets, and areas that previously were devoid of activity might have large groups of ducks. Check out the TPWD public hunting land map (See link below) for ideas on where to go and don’t overlook US Army Corps of Engineers land either. There are also plenty of guided hunt options for those that would prefer.
If you decide to make a trip up to the panhandle this year it is worth your while to call a few TPWD biologists from the area. TPWD staff can be a huge help and they are typically happy to provide useful information. When you go, you can expect a variety of ducks in that region, including: mallards, redheads (early on), pintails, blue wing teal (early on), green wing teal and plenty of divers as well. The season for the HPMM is open Oct. 31st – Nov. 1st and Nov. 6th – Jan. 31st (See link below). Duck hunts in the panhandle can be an absolute blast and are certainly worth a trip this year.
Texas Public Hunting Information: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/
Texas Duck Hunting Regulations: https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/regs/animals/duck
TPWD Duck Hunting Forecast: https://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20150820b
Kyle Shaney is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Texas at Arlington with a focus in conservation and wildlife ecology. Kyle plans to continue wildlife research, as well as advocate for hunting practices throughout the US and other countries in the future.