There are many opportunities that are now taking place for both hunters and fishermen. Teal season will end this Sunday, Sept. 30, but dove season is open in both the central and south zones. The archery whitetail season opens annually on Oct. 1, followed closely by the regular waterfowl season and the regular deer seasons.
The early part of the early teal season proved to be excellent for most of hunters. When the season opened, there were swarms of bluewings hereabouts. Whenever the first cool front moved through, many of the birds moved on further south. According to Shane Chesson, chief guide for the Drake Plantation Outfitters, there are still some birds here but not as many as there were earlier. The four-bird-per-hunter limit is continuing to be reached, but it is taking a little longer to finish out. That’s normal. The teal are only stopping in our area for a short time, anyway.
It has always amazed me how the bluewing teal could be the first ducks to migrate into our area in late August after being the last ones to come back through here. Many times there are still bluewings hereabouts into late February and early March. Yet they make it to their nesting area, raise their duckling to flying age and return by late August.
The dove hunters had some great shooting when the South Zone opened. The action was hot and heavy in most areas especially south of Winnie in the fields between Highway 124 and Anahuac. After the opening couple of days, the birds moved to other locations. That’s why it could be an advantage to hunt with an outfitter. These folks will have several places to take hunters that are holding doves. In fact, some outfitters offer morning duck hunts and afternoon dove hunts.
I talked to Judy Brooks, owner of the Winkle Ranch near Llano, about what hunters could expect in that part of the Hill Country. Since last year’s drought, there has been ample rainfall for the growing of the green plants that the deer thrive on. The ranchers have rounding up cattle and observing the wildlife at the same time. The deer, according to Brooks, seem to be in really good shape after last year’s tough summer. Archers should do well now, and the regular season will likely be well above average. The fall and winter deer conditions always depend upon the rainfall.
There are ample Rio Grande turkeys. They seem to have had a good nesting with good survival rates. Some of the hens have several of this year’s hatchlings with them. As always, the feral hogs are still around in good numbers. There are, if anything, more of them than ever. Many hunters are now preferring the feral hogs to the deer.
I would hope that most of the deer hunters have already made their plans. If not, there are some good opportunities later in the season during colder weather. By the way, Brooks said there is only a fair acorn crop in their area.
On the fishing scene, we are into the most productive time of year for most anglers. According to pro guide Will Kirkpatrick, the Rayburn action has been super for black bass. First thing in the mornings and before dark, topwaters are king. At other times, the crank baits and spinner lures do well. The watermelon-colored plastic worms or lizards have also been taking bass.
There is some other great saltwater action taking place. As is normal this time of year, Lake Sabine, East Bay and Big Lake in Louisiana are yielding super catches of speckled trout and redfish. There is lots of seagull activity in all of the areas. Even redfish are surfacing chasing shrimp.
Carey and Curtis Cuccia of Nederland helped Ryan Broussard try out his new boat. They headed just off the Louisiana beach to land a hefty catch of tripletails. They went specifically for the tripletails and they scored well.
Billy Halfin can be reached by e-mail at bhalfinoutdoors [at] aol [dot] com.