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Smith: Duck season ends Sunday

By Chris Smith
Jan. 22, 2014 at 10 p.m.

Sunday at sunset will be the end of the 2013-2014 duck season.

Every waterfowl hunter that is remotely serious about duck hunting will already know where they will be this weekend. If you don't already have plans, it's time to get busy.

The wrap up will normally have more hunters than typical days during the season so planning ahead may be a good idea. East Texas duck hunters have conflicting success stories. Some hunters a bringing in heavy straps of "big ducks" and others are complaining of not even seeing any ducks. One hunter that has a lease near the Red River reported a good year overall but not as good as last year.

His logic was sound as the previous year his lease held basically the only huntable water in the area. This forced the ducks to use his sloughs and his hunting was spectacular. He and his party limited out in short order this year on many occasions.

Closer to home in the Sabine bottom we had plenty of water, cover and feed but there seemed to be a lack of birds.

Duck hunters are notorious for their secrecy and guard honey holes with extreme prejudice. Knowing where a hot area is can provide steady action for weeks provided it is not over hunted.

Watching the weather closely is another key to success. Keeping up with cold front arrivals will enable the duck hunter to be at the right place at the right time. Scouting an area that is holding ducks before the frontal passage can give the hunter an added knowledge as to where newly arriving ducks may go.

The new arrivals will nearly always be attracted to areas already holding birds. Farm ponds, especially those with duckweed are great places to find late season birds. Stop by and ask the landowner about hunting the pond and chances are a long term agreement can be struck.

If the landowner agrees to the hunting, be sure to respect the property and take care to cause no damage to the fences, gates etc. One field in the Carthage area is holding dozens or perhaps hundreds of ducks right now. These ducks are feeding on grass seeds in the field and small depressions holding rainwater. They only leave to roost and the sight is amazing. Of course hunting is not allowed at this location but knowing these birds are using this area may afford good hunts nearby.

Include in your hunting plans a backup contingency. Crowds on public reservoirs may be high due to the last weekend so have a plan "B".

Hopefully your last weekend of the season will be successful and as always practice gun safety.




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