Dove seasons close as duck seasons open

The South Zone duck season opens Oct. 31. The youth duck season was last weekend

A whole lot of wind and rain has brought a flood of water to East and Southeast Texas that will likely slow the fishing down on Sabine Lake and East Galveston Bay. But Sam Rayburn guide Bill Fondren says the crappie and bass fishing there is still pretty darned good.

“We got about 7 inches of rain on the lake,” says Fondren. “But that’s only going to help bass fishing, especially the topwater bite. We had a guy win a bass tournament here on Sunday with five bass weighing around 25 pounds. From what I’ve heard they were caught on topwater jerk baits. The crappie fishing is good over brush, but once we get a good cold front they will be moving to the Angelina River channel.”

All that rain runoff up in East Texas will be coming downstream to Sabine Lake. Guide Jerry Norris says that’s going to slow catches of trout and reds for a while.

“It’ll muddy up the north end, but if we get a cold front through, it’ll push a lot of that water out and clean things up pretty fast,” says Norris.

Over the weekend, the high tides and strong winds on Sabine Lake caused a good bit of damage to piers on the lower end of the lake. But one good thing about the high tides from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia is that catches of bull reds should take off along the Sabine jetties and in the McFaddin surf.

Duck, deer and dove seasons

The South Zone duck season opens Oct. 31. The youth duck season was last weekend. Most of the birds taken were teal, along with a few gadwalls. The North Zone season doesn’t open until Nov. 7. Dove seasons in all zones are closed until Dec. 18.

Unless we get a big push of ducks down the Central Flyway this week, the South Zone opener is likely to be slow on big ducks but might turn out to be pretty good on teal. We’ve still got good numbers of teal in the coastal marsh and on flooded fields around Nome, China and Winnie.

The gun season on deer opens Nov. 7. If we can keep the cool morning temperatures going, the rut should be happening in the Pineywoods and the Hill Country on opening weekend. The first two weeks of the season should be excellent.

Texas game wardens stop mass poaching rampage

“A three-month-long outlaw road hunting rampage in Leon County this summer that state game wardens are categorizing as one of the most egregious poaching cases on record in Texas has come to an end,” says Steve Lightfoot with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Four adults and two juveniles are facing more than 175 state jail felony and Class A misdemeanor wildlife violations stemming from a surreal chain of poaching events between June 4 and Aug. 29. While investigators suspect the toll on wildlife and property is likely greater, the suspects have been charged in the illegal killing of at least 68 white-tailed deer, numerous other wildlife species and livestock, and the indiscriminate and widespread destruction of public and private property.

“The group is alleged to have used various firearms at night to shoot wildlife, livestock and property from a motor vehicle on a public roadway and on private property without landowner consent,” says Lightfoot. “Game wardens confiscated nine firearms ranging from .17 HMR to a .270, including a .22 rimfire rifle fitted with a homemade suppressor.

“While some of the deer killed had portions of the carcasses retained by the suspects for consumption – loins and hindquarters – most were simply left to rot in the field. In addition to deer, the suspects purportedly shot numerous other animals from a motor vehicle on a public road, including vultures, squirrels, foxes, feral hogs, doves, ducks, cormorants, blue herons, alligators, white egrets, armadillos and raccoons.”

In addition to poaching wildlife, the violators are being charged with shooting and killing five cows and hacking to death a sixth cow with a machete.

“This reprehensible and senseless killing spree has absolutely no resemblance to hunting, and I know sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere will be appalled to learn of this thoughtless waste of life,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “It is fitting to see these violators brought to justice, thanks to an observant landowner who provided the initial tip and the diligent work of our Texas Game Wardens working with the sheriff’s office.”

Had it not been for a phone call on Sept. 1 from a concerned citizen who reported a deer had been poached, the investigation might not ever have gotten off the ground, according to game warden Mike Hanson.

Hanson noted that a sign in Centerville reads “REPORT POACHING — CALL GAME WARDEN.” Surprisingly, this group did not shoot that sign … one of the few things they did not shoot.

Vote on proposition 6 for right to hunt fish

Something to keep in mind is to vote on Proposition 6 on Tuesday, Nov. 3, that gives Texans the right to hunt and fish.

Proposition 6 proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution that establishes an individual’s right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in the Lone Star State. Supporters say it would ensure that wildlife conservation and management decisions continue to be based on sound science in order to preserve Texas’ hunting and fishing heritages for generations to come and to protect it against future attacks from “well-funded, anti-hunting and fishing organizations.”


Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.