Robert Sloan's archive

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already come out with the 2016-17 waterfowl hunting regulations. That might sound a little premature, since we just got through last season’s duck hunts, which were not nearly as good as expected. According to the latest data from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the USFWS, the reason duck hunts were so poor in Southeast Texas and other coastal regions of the state was due to an abundance of food in north Texas and farther up in the Central Flyway.

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Robert Sloan photo

My grandpa used to tell me that farming was a tough life, especially when it involved rain. He said a farmer had to pray for rain, then pray for rain to stop. I think that was pretty much the case last week with all the rain that fell on East and Southeast Texas. All that water has created havoc for fishermen on the Sabine and Angelina Rivers, not to mention the folks on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, and as of now, Sabine Lake.

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This big diamondback water snake was among many spotted last week along a river

We were about the only boat on the Nueces River last Friday, March 4, and the white bass were plentiful and easy to catch. Everything seemed to be fine until I noticed something at the back of the boat. I looked over and about 3 feet of a 5-foot-long snake had slithered into the boat. Talk about a panic attack. There were two of us in a 17-foot, flat-bottomed boat, and there definitely was not any room left for a snake. I quickly whacked it with the tip of my fishing pole and it reversed direction and swam out of sight.

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Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to do quite a bit of camping from Africa to South America. Some were memorable; others I want to forget. One of the best was on the Kanektok River in Alaska. That was a fly-fishing float trip along a river that provided some outstanding drift fishing for huge rainbow trout. Among my worst camping trips was one in Mexico along the Pacific coast. While out surfing one day, we returned to find out that somebody had stolen our camp – as in tents, chairs, stoves, lanterns and more. Talk about a surprise.

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For the first time in over 80 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved a 90-day dove season in Texas for 2016-17. That means we’ll be getting an additional 20 days of hunting during the fall, plus we’ll get to keep 15 doves per day. Also, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is recommending a later opener for duck hunting, with a shorter break between splits for the North Duck Zone and a later overall season in the South Duck Zone. This is all part of the statewide hunting proclamation for Migratory Game Birds that is up for public comment.

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