Texas duck and goose seasons set

Doves, ducks, deer and gators are on the hunting menu here in Southeast Texas.

We are just about there. Dove season starts Sept. 1, teal season is Sept. 12, bow season on deer opens Oct. 3, alligator season is Sept 10, and Oct. 1 is the East Texas squirrel season opener. It’s definitely prep time for hunting in Southeast Texas.

A few days ago, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department set duck and goose season dates for Texas. The outlook is promising with record duck numbers and improved habitat conditions, according to waterfowl biologists.

“For the first time in several years, Texas should have some higher water-level marks to greet record populations of wintering waterfowl,” says TPWD’s Steve Lightfoot. “Good news of record-setting waterfowl populations, with nearly all species numbering above the long term goals identified in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, sets the table for the 2015-16 hunting season in Texas. Most species of ducks important to Texas waterfowlers are well above long-term averages, with mallards and green-winged teal reaching new all-time highs.”

A staggered opener this season in the North and South Zones, along with a concurrent split, will allow duck hunters an additional two weeks of opportunity. The only change to the daily bag limit on ducks this season is an increase to two canvasbacks.

Changes to this season’s goose regulations include an increase in the number of hunting days for white-fronted geese in the Eastern Zone from 72 to 86, with those additional days added to the end of the season. Also, the bag limit for Canada geese in the Eastern Zone increases this season from three to five daily, including during the early Canada goose season. The daily aggregate bag limit of no more than two white-fronted geese remains in effect. In the Western Zone, the daily bag limit on white-fronted geese also increases to two this season.

Following are the adopted season dates and limits for the 2015-16 migratory game bird seasons:

Ducks

• High Plains Mallard Management Unit

Youth: Oct. 24-25; Regular: Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 and Nov. 6 – Jan. 31; “Dusky” Duck: Nov. 9 – Jan. 31.

• North Zone

Youth: Oct. 31 – Nov. 1; Regular: Nov. 7-29 and Dec. 12 – Jan. 31; “Dusky” Duck: Nov. 12-29 and Dec. 12 – Jan. 31.

• South Zone

Youth: Oct. 24-25; Regular: Oct. 31 – Nov. 29 and Dec. 12 – Jan. 24; “Dusky” Duck: Nov. 5-29 and Dec. 12 – Jan. 24.

Bag Limit: six a day in the aggregate to include no more than three wood ducks, three scaup, five mallards, of which only two may be hens, two redheads, two pintail, two canvasback, one “dusky duck” (mottled, black or Mexican-like) after the first five days. Mergansers: five a day with no more than two hooded mergansers. Coots: 15 a day. Possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

Geese

• East Zone: Nov. 7 – Jan. 31; Light Geese Conservation Order, Feb. 1 – Mar. 20

• Bag Limit: Five dark geese, to include no more than two white-fronted geese; 20 light geese (no possession limit)

• West Zone: Oct. 31 – Jan. 31; Light Geese Conservation Order Feb. 1 – Mar. 20

Bag Limit: Five dark geese, to include no more than two white-fronted geese; 20 light geese (no possession limit)

Game wardens to the rescue

A game warden saw three people in a canoe paddle to the fast-current side of Buffalo Springs Lake, which is restricted to powerboats. The warden shouted at the individuals to return to the no-wake side of the lake, but they yelled back, “Chill out, man!” Seconds later, they were hit by a wave that flipped their canoe. Another warden joined the first in rescuing the three individuals, who were not wearing life jackets. The wardens, assisted by Good Samaritan boaters, pulled all three people from the water, one of whom was already about six inches under. No one suffered any injuries, though the wardens issued the three individuals citations for not wearing life jackets.

Raising Bambi is not legal

An East Texas game warden received a call about someone keeping a fawn in his backyard. When the warden arrived at the suspect’s house, the suspect’s wife said the fawn belonged to a doe the suspect had shot earlier in the spring. He was tired of deer getting into the garden, so he shot the offending doe, not realizing it had a fawn, which the suspect and his wife decided to raise while leaving the doe to waste. While interviewing him, the warden discovered the suspect did not have a valid hunting license. The suspect said he thought he didn’t need a license to hunt on a high-fence ranch. While surveying the suspect’s residence, the warden saw a heavy racked European buck mount buried under some tools, a large bull elk European mount and a crossbow. The wardens seized the two European mounts and took the fawn to a Texas Parks and Wildlife rehabilitation facility.

Jet skiing while intoxicated

While a warden was giving a ticket to a jet ski operator another individual and young girl on a jet ski passed the warden’s boat well within the 50-foot safe passing distance. The warden stopped the individual and, after initial observations, had both the adult and the girl get on his boat. Once on shore, the adult failed the standardized field sobriety tests, so the warden arrested him for boating while intoxicated. The individual, who turned out to be a convicted felon and admitted gang member, 90 minutes after the warden initially stopped him gave consensual breath samples of 0.150 and 0.137.

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