Teal show up in time for excellent late season hunts

Teal show up in time for excellent late season hunts

The season opener on teal and doves was pretty much  a wash out. But all that changed with a full moon and a north wind last weekend. Instead of getting hammered by rain, a whole lot of hunters on ponds and in the marsh dropped easy limits of teal.

“It was one of the best hunts I’ve ever had,” said Jim Stelle, who has been a Texas duck hunter for over four decades. “We needed a full moon and a little bit of a north wind to move teal down the Central Flyway, and that’s exactly what we got last weekend. We hunted on a two-acre pond and had a pretty good hunt Saturday. The next day we hunted the same spot and had six limits of teal by 8:10 that morning.”

Hunters reported seeing huge flights of teal swinging in over the decoys. Some of the best hunts have been on crawfish ponds and the marsh south of Winnie. We’re into the final days of the early teal season. It’ll close Sunday, Sept. 30.

By the way, the latest decoy tactic for teal hunters is to use three or four Mojo doves place in the middle of the decoy spread. We used them last weekend with excellent results.

The bow season on deer opens Sept. 29

The bow season on deer opens this Saturday Sept. 29, and runs through Nov. 2. And the East Texas squirrel season runs from Oct. 1 through Feb. 24. So, as of next week we’ll have the opportunity to hunt, deer, squirrels and doves.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to fill a hole in this year’s hunting calendar without breaking the bank you might check out the Big Time Texas Hunting program. Hunters hoping for a chance at winning premium guided hunt packages through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Big Time Texas Hunts program have just three weeks left to enter. Monday, Oct. 15 is the deadline.

Hunters can enter to win any of 10 premium guided hunt packages in this year’s Big Time Texas Hunts drawing.  All lodging and food is included and most of the packages allow winners to bring friends along to hunt. There are packages to hunt bighorn sheep, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, alligator, waterfowl, upland game birds, wild hog and exotics.

New this year is an opportunity to hunt nilgai antelope in South Texas. The nilgai antelope – also called the “blue bull” – is a massive big game animal from southeast Asia that was introduced onto the famed King Ranch during the late 1920s. These impressive animals now thrive on the grasslands of South Texas where mature males can tip the scales at 700 pounds. Not only are nilgai huge, they are also a challenge to hunt. Their keen eyesight, hearing and sense of smell make them sensitive to predators and they spook easily.

“Big Time Texas Hunts allows everyone a chance to win unique hunting packages that are out of reach for most Texans. Beyond this, hunters can feel good about purchasing entries because all of the money raised is earmarked for wildlife conservation and public hunting projects,” said Justin Dreibelbis, TPWD Private Lands and Public Hunting Program Director.

Big Time Texas Hunts raises over $600,000 each year for wildlife research, habitat conservation efforts, and public hunting programs in Texas. Over $8 million has been raised since the program began in 1998.

Big Time Texas Hunts entries are available online, under the “Hunting” category, for $9 each or for $10 each at license retailers, or by phone at (800) 895-4248. Call center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a required $5 administrative fee for each phone or online transaction, but unlimited items can be purchased (such as 2018-19 hunting and fishing licenses) during a single transaction for this $5 fee. You are not required to purchase or have a hunting or fishing license to buy Big Time Texas Hunts entries.

How not to hunt doves

Each September at the start of dove hunting season, game wardens come across the same illegal practices and some cases that leave them shaking their heads.

In Titus County, for example, game wardens checked three young men in a field, one of whom claimed he wasn’t hunting and had no shotgun. After a brief series of questions he admitted to hunting without a license and retrieved his hidden shotgun. Two of the three also had not completed the required hunter education certification. A short time later the warden drove by the same field and saw another truck had arrived. Two mourning doves were found dead on the ground beside the truck and were covered in fire ants. The warden located the hunters and warned them about rules against waste of game. Four additional young men were also checked and the warden discovered two were using unplugged shotguns capable of holding more than three shells and two had no hunter education certification. Tickets for the violations were issued.

A Harris County game warden came across a dove hunter who left evidence of his illegal activity on his face. The warden had observed two hunters in the middle of a cattle field hunting doves, and upon greeting them, noticed bits of cracked corn were stuck to the man’s face. Suspecting a baited field, the warden looked in the bed of their truck and found an empty bag of cracked corn. Trying not to laugh, he asked the guy if he had been eating corn. The subject looked puzzled, then felt his face and brushed the cracked corn off. The two individuals sadly showed the warden where they had placed the corn. Tickets were issued, and weapons were seized to hold them accountable to show up for their hearing. Charges were filed, and civil restitution is pending.