Regular duck season in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit opened Oct. 30, in the South Zone on Nov. 6, and in the North Zone on Nov. 13.
Conditions look promising for waterfowl this season. Although drought affected some breeding areas, Waterfowl Program Leader Kevin Kraai tells us, “There are still millions of ducks in the Central Flyway, and we’re on the heels of multiple excellent breeding seasons for ducks over the last few years.”
Early reports from Canada indicate the goose hatch may be better than previous years. Light and dark goose season opens in the East Zone on Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 in the West Zone. The Light Goose Conservation Order season begins in the East Zone on Jan. 31 and in the West Zone on Feb. 14.
See the waterfowl forecast for locations where excellent conditions are predicted. With the help of some strong cold fronts and snow to the north of us, this season could be a good one.
What You Need to Know
Bag limits vary by species, so be sure and check the 2021-22 Outdoor Annual for complete waterfowl regulation information. To hunt waterfowl, you need:
• Valid Texas hunting license
• Proof of Hunter Education
• HIP certification
• Federal Duck Stamp
• Migratory Game Bird Endorsement
• Your license can now be accessed digitally with the Outdoor Annual (OA) app or the My Texas Hunt Harvest app. A legible, digital photo of your license or your emailed license receipt can also be used for waterfowl hunting.
Tips to Boost Your Waterfowl I.D. Skills
It’s in your best interest to learn to I.D. waterfowl, since taking non-game birds can result in fines and even jail time.
Ducks at a distance can be hard to tell apart. But if you can see the white plumage on a duck, you have a very good chance of correctly identifying the species. Pick out one individual, then focus on the white markings to ID it. Find out more in Where’s the White?.
Whooping cranes migrate to Texas in fall. They’re endangered, federally protected and they share habitat with geese and sandhill cranes until mid-spring. Learn to recognize whoopers by watching our video Be Sure Before You Shoot.
How You Can Help Protect the Lakes You Love
Invasive species like giant salvinia can quickly grow to cover large areas of fresh water. This not only blocks boat access for hunters, but waterfowl may no longer stop and rest there.
If you hunt by boat, you need to clean, drain and dry it, along with ANY gear that has been in the water, including decoys, waders and marsh sleds. This prevents the transportation of invasive species from one lake to the other.
Protect the lakes you love, fight back against giant salvinia – clean, drain and dry your boat and gear every time you travel from lake to lake.
Information provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department