hunting

Deer photo by Robert Sloan

This past weekend was the opener of deer season across Texas and the duck season in the South Zone. It was the one weekend when hundreds of thousands of Texas hunters put on the camo, loaded their favorite gun and headed outdoors.

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Robert Sloan

The cold front that moved through Southeast Texas last weekend was a game changer that will set up some excellent deer hunting for the opener Nov. 4. Plus, it definitely moved a lot of ducks down the Central Flyway and into the coastal marshes and backwater lakes for the South Zone opener this weekend. And don’t forget about the fishing. The topwater bite on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend is going strong, and along the coast, black drum and bull reds are on a big run.

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Deer are in good shape in most regions of Texas.

Thanks to our latest cold front, all kinds of good things are happening. Plenty of ducks have started their migration down the Central Flyway, dove hunts have improved, bass fishing is excellent and best of all, we had an excellent season opener for bow hunters.

The bow season that opened last Saturday across the state was perfectly timed with cool temperatures and clearing skies in most areas of Texas. The cool air definitely had plenty of deer on the move, especially in the Hill Country.

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Photo courtesy of the National Park Service
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In an effort to expand recreational opportunities in the national preserve and provide unique experiences for all, effective October 2017, Big Thicket National Preserve will open a new waterfowl hunting area and permit the use of air rifles for squirrel hunting.

Squirrel hunting has been a popular activity in the preserve for many years. In accordance with Texas regulations, only squirrel (fox squirrel, cat/grey squirrel) may be taken with air rifles.

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For the second straight year, Texas dove hunters will have a 90-day season.

The 2017-18 migratory game bird seasons adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department give Texas hunters a 90-day dove season with a daily limit of 15 birds; duck hunters will be limited to one pintail per day, and the early teal season is set for Sept. 9-24 with a daily bag limit of six birds.

The really good news is that South Texas dove hunters will see increased opportunity this year thanks to a season-framework adjustment expanding the early September four-day Special White-winged Dove Area hunting season to the entire South Zone boundary.

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One of the most exciting birds we can hunt in Texas is the bobwhite quail. A goo

Texas hunters have it made. We have big numbers of white-tailed deer, turkeys, wild pigs, ducks and geese, as well as doves. We’ve got huge chunks of land that produce bobwhite and blue quail, and if that’s not enough, check out a hunt for snipe since the season is open through Feb. 12.

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Robert Sloan photo

Waterfowl hunters are not that techno crazy when it comes to gearing up for success. It’s basically like football – you get suited up with the essentials and go at it full speed. The crazy thing about duck and goose hunters is that we have to go afield prepared for just about anything that can be thrown our way here in Southeast Texas – rain, cold, mud, ice, sleet, mosquitoes, snakes and even alligators. It can be a true test of one’s perseverance on any given hunt.

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Duck hunting is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea.

Whatever it is that makes people want to go duck hunting is beyond the wildest imagination of most folks with a sane mind. Here’s how it works on the average hunt. The alarm goes off at 4 a.m. or earlier, and you get up, put on camouflaged clothing and head out the door. By the time you actually get to where you’ll be hunting, it’s cold, dark and wet. So what do we do? Pull on a pair of waders and head out into boot-sucking mud, toss out several dozen decoys, load the gun and hope the birds show up.

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Robert Sloan photo

The thing that draws millions of deer hunters into the wild is the element of surprise – you never know what’s going to show up at any given moment.

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Some really good stuff is in store for both hunters and fishermen this week in East and Southeast Texas. 

First of all, we’ve got a Canadian front moving through this weekend with some pretty cold temperatures. That front will be moving plenty of ducks and geese into Southeast Texas. It’ll also jumpstart the rut in the Pineywoods. 

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