Argentina Duck Hunting – Wow!

Argentina duck hunting is the “little sister” of Argentina Dove Hunting.  While they don’t have ducks in the same quantity as doves, they do have a LOT of ducks.  And, the ducks they have are almost all unique to the Southern hemisphere.  It’s a bit more expensive to hunt ducks in Argentina but you end up shooting less so it is “theoretically” about the same price.  I guess it depends on the size of your shotgun shell bill after a dove hunt – mine was rather large.  By contrast, I hunted ducks for 4 days with 1 dove hunt and 1 pigeon/parakeet hunt and only shot 45 boxes.  On dove hunts, I typically shoot as much as 80 boxes per day. The best part of our Argentina duck hunt was the amazing number of crazy shots that were successful.  Yes, we did have large piles of dead ducks.  You won’t see that here because that’s not the point.  What was magnificent was the superb scenery, a steady stream of ducks arriving about every 5 minutes, long shots with a 20ga, shooting lead, crazy double and quarduple shots with my buddy Larry and our host.  Puelo Expeditions, Ramiro and his superb team delivered so far beyond our expectations that we were continually surprised and amazed.  Puelo Expeditions should be your first choice for Argentina Duck Hunting if you want a superb, finest personal experience. You can get a little taste of the action Argentina Duck Hunting in the video.

Argentina Duck Hunting Sunrise

Blue Sky, Grey Clouds and Green Grass on an Argentina Duck Hunt Sunrise

Argentina Duck Hunt Sunrise

I dare you to show me a duck hunter who doesn’t have a massive collection of sunrise photos.  We hunted ducks in Argentine just South of Buenos Aires.  The topography reminded me very much of the Katy Prairie outside Houston, TX.  Pampas, ponds, reeds and many many ducks. It just so happens that this morning turned into a fantastic pigeon hunt before the ducks even woke up!  We had hundreds of pigeons come right over the duck blind out of the group of trees in the right of the photo.  We just turned around and shot pigeons for 30 minutes or so until the ducks woke up and joined them.  You can’t find that in the US!

Yellow Billed Pintails from Duck Hunting Argentina

Duck Hunting Speckled Grey Yellow Billed Pintail

Duck Hunting Yellow Billed Pintail

A big part of duck hunting is species identification.  At some point, almost every duck hunter turns into a species hunter since species identification is so important to our game laws.  The species we saw in South America were almost all unique to South America.  This surprised me and turned out to be an enormous treat for us.

Southern Shoveler

Red, Blue, Green and Orange Southern Shoveler Duck Hunting

Southern Shoveler Duck Hunting

Yeah, they have spoonies down there too.  I’m not a fan of spoonies because they just don’t have much meat on them.  They are also pretty easy to identify in flight with that big ol’ honker they have mounted up front.  The Southern species is redder than the northern species but everything else is about the same. It was a fun duck to shoot but not really what I was after.

Southern Screamer

Grey and Black Southern Screamer with Pink Legs

Southern Screamer

Seriously!  These aren’t huntable birds and we didn’t shoot any.  They do make one hell of a racket though and truly deserve their name.

Southern Wigeon Duck Hunting

White, Black and Green Duck Hunting Southern Wigeon

Duck Hunting Southern Wigeon

I love hunting wigeon.  I like their wingbeat pattern and how they will work a call and decoys.  I also think they are the prettiest duck out there.  So, I was quite delighted to harvest several while duck hunting in Argentina. I think the sourthern species is even more beautiful than their northern cousins.

Silver Teal Duck Hunting

Speckled, Blue, Green, Black and Brown Silver Teal Duck Hunting

Silver Teal Duck Hunting

This is my favorite duck of the entire Argentine duck hunting trip.  We were relatively early in the season as we hunted the first week of May.  Since the southern hemisphere is six months opposite the northern hemisphere, their duck hunting season is 6 months opposite of ours. Since we were early in the season, not many ducks had begun migration.  So, we hunted mostly local ducks.  This was very different that hunting local ducks up here.  Most of the local ducks where we hunted were teal and they are my very favorite.  The silver teal was the scarcest species of teal we saw.  This photo was taken in a teal hole (small pond filled with reeds with a small open area in the middle) where we were literally bombarded by teal one day.  So many, that they were literally swimming right up to our blind!

My First Cinnamon Teal hunting Ducks in Argentina

Brown, Blue and Green Cinnamon Teal Duck Hunt

Cinnamon Teal Duck Hunt

I live in Texas and are just a tiny bit too far east to see cinnamon teal.  I didn’t expect to see a cinnamon while hunting duck in Argentina but I knew this guy as soon as he came by the blind.  What a treat to get my first cinnamon on a duck hunting in Argentina.

Rings, Silvers, Cinnamons and some Damn Parakeets

Speckled Black/White Ring and Silver/Green Silver Teal Ducks

Ring and Silver Teal Ducks

Ring teal are another example of unique southern duck species.  They are very noticeable in flight due to the ver white ring on their wings.  We also shot parakeets.  I love shooting parakeets.  You can hear them coming as they chatter to each other in flight.  They usually fly in pairs which offers a very nice double on a regular basis.  I love shooting parakeets so much that I’ll pass up a duck shot to take one at parakeets.  No, they aren’t good for anything but they are a huge pest in Argentina.  They eat grain just like dove but they use their very sharp beak to chop off the heads of mature grain stalks rather than just pick up seeds off the ground like the doves.  Farmers hate them and are generally happy to let you shoot them. Below the silver and ring teal are a few speckled teal.  Speckled teal were by far the most common teal we saw and shot.

Parakeets and Pigeons, Oh My!

Green and Blue Parakeet and Grey and White Pigeon Hunting

Parakeet and Pigeon Hunting

We had an afternoon hunt for pigeons and parakeets at our specific request. If you want this type of hunt, make sure you request it ahead of time.  It is common to shoot a few pigeons and parakeets while hunting other species but it is very unique to hunt them at their roost.  It’s harder than it sounds.  Hunting the roost only provides a concentration of pigeons and parakeets, we didn’t shoot them out of the trees or their nest.  But, it did provide us a place to hunt them with sufficient regular traffic that it made a hunt.  They roost in very very tall eucalyptus trees and fly in and out all day long.  It was fun to build a big stack of green birds and then go have a great pigeon asado (argentina bar-b-que) afterwards.  The pigeons are very tasty.  I can’t say the same for the parakeets.

End of the Argentina Duck Hunt

Grey Water, Green Plants and Red Shotgun Shells after an Outstanding Argentina Duck Hunt

Outstanding Argentina Duck Hunt

Every great hunt has to end and this photo summed it up the best.  Man, we had some amazing shooting, shots and laughs.  What else could a duck hunter ask for in a duck hunting trip to Argentina?

Summary of Duck Hunting in Argentina

It is the same but different and better. It’s just like hunting up here but you have ducks about every five minutes and you never have to keep count.  Oh, and you can also shoot lead.  Go!
Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

Texas Duck Hunting Tips and Secrets

The end of bird hunting season in Texas is always bittersweet.  I always find some great memories and lessons as I reflect back on my hunts and experiences.  This season was Good for Texas duck huntin, Excellent for dove hunting in Texas and Finally Improving for quail.  I’m about rested now and looking forward to my farming, habitat improvement and quail raising during the long hot Texas summer days as me and Jill dream about the exciting Texas bird hunts as have lined up for this Fall

Still Quiet Mornings in a Duck Blind

Blue and Grey Fog on Reflective River while Texas River Duck Hunt

Texas River Duck Hunt

I hope I never tire of watching the fog clear and sun rise with a cup of coffee and my favorite duck hunting dog in a duck blind.  We’re fortunate in Texas to have a variety of Winter weather – it provides a never ending carousel of sights and sounds from my duck blinds.  We’re also fortunate to have a wide variety of places to hunt ducks in Texas.  Rivers are generally open to anyone if you have a boat and can find a launch.  It can get crowded and I’ve been known to camp out to get my favorite spot.

Getting Portable to Hunt Ducks

Orange and White Bird Dog with Yellow Grass Mat and Camoflage Gun Case as a Mobile Duck Hunt Rig

Mobile Duck Hunt Rig

The river is very convenient for me to hunt ducks – literally right behind my house.  But, those ducks are smart and don’t seem to want to land where it is easiest to get my boat.  In those cases, it’s time to get mobile!  I find that a backpack with coffee and shells, a small set of light weight decoys, a good gun case and a rolled up grass mat with conduit posts serves me very well.  I land the boat and start the hike.  Dog likes this a lot!  It doesn’t seem to take much blind building – just a grass mat and a few posts is all it takes to break up our outline and put the big surprise on the ducks who think they’ve found a safe spot.

Little Duck Boat!

Camoflage Shallow Water Duck Hunting Boat on Grey Concrete by White Building

Shallow Water Duck Hunting Boat

Yeah, I’m that guy – I have 2 duck boats.  I love my Beaver Tail Final Attack for hunting where I can’t get the big duck boat launched.  This little sweety has a 2.5 horse outboard and a great little cover to keep the rain out.  THe biggest benefit of this boat is that it has rolling wheels built into the transom so it can be easily dragged. It’s just big enough for me & Dog and some dekes.

Get Skinny with the Little Duck Boat

Black Outboard Motor on a Camoflage Duck Hunting Boat Motor Mount

Duck Hunting Boat Motor Mount

Sometimes I need to get into some very skinny water in my Little Duck Boat. I had a buddy fabricate a motor mount/lift to get my motor up as high as possible.  The cavitation plate is just above the top of the water tunnel and I can run in about 3 inches of water.  I give up a little power for this but I tear up fewer props and end up having to get out of the boat less often.  I’ll take that tradeoff!

Big Floods in Texas Duck Hunting Rivers

Brown River Water and Green Grass in a Flooded Duck Hunting River

Flooded Duck Hunting River

We had a couple big floods this Fall and it really hurt the duck hunting.  The boat launch is actually another 30 feet below the water in that picture!  The biggest problem, which actually helped if you scouted enough, was that the flood cleared all the duck food out of the river and filled up their alternative resting and feeding spots.  In the past, ducks would roost on mud holes but need to come to the river to eat. The floods reversed this situation this year.  But, a little extra scouting – on foot mind you – led me to find a few spots where there was still food in the river.  This concentrated them a little bit on the river but the roost ponds still had plenty of food so it was hard to draw them to the river.  I didn’t get a single limit hunt on the river this year.

Texas Gulf Coast Duck Hunting

Black Shadows on a Red, Orange and Yellow Texas Coast Duck Hunt Sunrise

Texas Coast Duck Hunt Sunrise

I also hunt ducks on the Texas Gulf Coast.  After hunting down in the river, I always enjoy the big skies and bold sun rises that the Texas Gulf Coast has for me.  How can it get any better than this?

Get an Airboat for Texas Gulf Coast Duck Hunting!

Two People Dressed in Camoflage Duck Hunting on an Airboat

Duck Hunting on an Airboat

You can hunt ducks on the Texas gulf Coast without an airboat but you are going to be limited to mostly redheads and some pintails that don’t mind the box blinds.  As the season progresses, even the stupid readheads get blind shy.  If you want to get into skinny water where the cool ducks go, you’ll need to get an airboat.  If your guide doesn’t have an airboat, you’re either going to hunt a box blind or walk a long way through the mud and shallows.  All that said, the best part of an airboat ride is getting off that SOB at the end of the trip – nothing colder when hunting ducks in Texas!

Quick Boat Rig for Duck Hunting Blind

White Truck with Green Boat and Silver Motor for a Deep River Duck Hunting Blind

Deep River Duck Hunting Blind

Some of the duck on the river where I hunt in Texas like to hit the deeper water where the river banks are steep.  These banks are also pretty thin and don’t have much cover. It’s hard to hunt a boat based duck blind in the river and I like to be flexible and adapt to the conditions I find when I finally get where I’m going to hunt ducks.  I built a quick & dirty fold up duck blind for my boat with some light PVC tubing and some grass mats.  The grass mats just hang on the tubing and the tubing rack folds down for travel.  This let’s me get into the steep and deep areas on the river and surprise the ducks when they go into a spot that they usually aren’t hunted.  I love the looks on their little faces when I surprise them!

Steep and Deep Duck Hunting on a Texas River

Blue Fog over Green River in a Deep River Duck Hunting Spot

Deep River Duck Hunting Spot

This is a new sight for me from my new duck boat blind.  I found that I needed two extra things.  I needed a boat ladder so Dog can get in and out of the boat in deep water.  I buit a light one from 2x6s and spent a brief afternoon training Dog to use it.  She didn’t like it but quickly understood that was the way to get to the ducks.  I also had to build some extension lines for my dekes because this water is 12 feet deep and my cords were only 3 feet.  Once I got those figured out, we had some great hunts from the boat blind.

My Secret Teal Hunting Hole

Blue and Orange Sunrise in a Secret Teal Hunting Location

Secret Teal Hunting Location

I hunted ducks on a new lake in Texas this year.  This lake is mostly rocky bottom and doesn’t have much duck food.  About the only thing I ever saw out there were divers who went out to the big middle and wouldn’t decoy.  I’m not much for divers anyway.  But, while I was hunting, I noticed that flocks of teal were working a little creek.  When I scouted the little creek I found a couple shallow pools with food and the teal were in there heavy.  So, I got up a little earlier, shortened my choke, grabbed some #6s and setup on a stool right beside a dead tree.  Lo and behold the teal come thundering in there right at daylight!  My biggest challenge is getting far enough back from the dekes to have time to swing on more than one duck at a time!  This is my new teal honey hole and I love it.  Nothing like having a hot limit before sunrise!

Summary of Texas Duck Hunting Tips & Secrets

Texas duck hunting season is over and I’m sad and glad.  I had many many amazing adventures this year and learned a ton.  Mobility is important if you hunt public rivers so be prepared to land the boat and do some walking to get where the ducks are.  I also like my second duck boat to get into places where I can’t launch a boat – less hunter competition as well since these are only available to kayak duck hunters and I don’t see many of those.  Floods are a blessing and a curse.  You need an airboat to hunt ducks on the Texas Gulf Coast. Airboats are a necessary evil. You can hunt the steep and deep parts of the river if you can make a boat blind.  Scout and keep scouting – the ducks will tell you their secrets of you are willing to look and listen.
Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

Wyoming Bombers! Old Bachelor Sage Grouse

I have a goal to hunt birds in all 50 states and 20 countries in the next 25 years. People ask me and I always have to count back – I’ve done 9 states so far.  I spend most of September through February hunting doves and ducks in Texas. We are truly fortunate to have so many varied species and locations to hunt in Texas.  Each year I select a couple states to hunt during my big annual adventure.  I start planning those hunts in January and they are typically scheduled during September of October of each year.  Last year, I hunted in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. I had hunted in Wyoming the year before but didn’t know about Sage Grouse or Bombers and when I did find out about them, discovered that I was just a few days late for their very short season. I discovered sage grouse because I kicked on up one day while hunting for Huns in Wyoming. Damn!  It liked to give me a heart attack!  Once I figured out what it was, I was primed to make a return visit and get one.

BIG Sage Country

Grey and Green Wyoming Sage Grouse Habitat

Wyoming Sage Grouse Habitat

Wyoming bird hunting country is HUGE!  The vistas seem endless.  Sage Grouse habitat is exactly what you’d expect – sage brush.  I’m always fascinated by the Wyoming sage brush and very old each plant appears.  It’s so dry and windy out there that it’s a wonder those plants can grow at all.  The guide told me stories about people driving across the sage brush and being able to see the tracks made by the vehicle for many years afterward. This is walking country and there is plenty of it.  I also like all of the hidden gullies and washes.  What looks to be smooth for as far as you can see actually has numerous gullies, washes and canyons that you can only see when you come up on them.  If you hunt this, plan on walking 10-15 miles.  It’s not a hard walk but it’s not easy either.   

Sage Grouse Poop

Green and White Sage Grouse Scat

Sage Grouse Scat

Since Wyoming is very large and there aren’t many sage grouse left, they can be very challenging to find.  The guides tend to know the most likely habitat but in the end, actually finding them depends on your ability to find Sage Grouse poop.  Yup, sort of likehunting bears in the woods.  When you do find it, the fresher the better!  Fresher is green.  Older is white. Chances are, they won’t be too far from where they like to hang out and poop.

 

Sage Grouse Eggs!

White Sage Grouse Eggs

Sage Grouse Eggs

Given the sheer size of the Wyoming country, it is highly unlikely that you’ll find a sage grouse nest.  That said, they do tend to lay eggs where they poop and we were fortunate to find an old nest.  Since I was primarily hunting for a Bomber – an older bachelor Sage Grouse – I wasn’t very interested in hunting the nesting area.  Afterall, the boys don’t hang around very long after the “work” is done.

 

Sage Grouse Jr.

Medium Grey and Tan Wyoming Sage Grouse

Medium Wyoming Sage Grouse

We did manage to find a couple sage grouse the first day.  Since I hadn’t hunted sage grouse before, I didn’t know how to size them and know which was a younger grouse versus an older grouse.  So, like any good hunter, I put one on the ground to see.  I mostly hunt doves, quail and ducks and since almost any sage grouse is bigger than any of those, he looked big.  It wasn’t until I got back to the lodge that I was informed that I didn’t have a bomber but did have a respectable sage grouse.  I wanted bombers though so we headed to a different place the next day – Bomber Heaven.

 

We’re having Fish for Lunch!

Clear Blue Brook Trout Fishing Hole

Brook Trout Fishing Hole

My guide is also a fly fishing guide and just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pull some brook trout out of this little hole.  I’ve avoided fly fishing because I know I’d do that like I do hunting and then nothing would ever get done at home.  When he asked if I minded if he fished a bit, I said “Sure, go ahead!”  Damned if he didn’t proceed to pull about a dozen little brook trout out of that hole – some were tiny but some were big enough to take home.  It was a hoot watching him.  Notice that he’s sitting back far enough from the pond that the fish can’t see him.  They are wily little buggers!  He told me a story of a Johnny Brook Trout – just like Johnny Appleseed – who goes into the mountains each summer with panniers loaded with brook trout fingerlings to stock the upper creeks.  He also mentioned that some people think brookies are “invasive” (like our European Collared Doves) and don’t appreciate that this guy is stocking them.  Meh.

 

Wyoming Trifecta

Wyoming Trifecta of Antelope, Brook Trout and Sage Grouse

Wyoming Trifecta

On the way back to the lodge the first day, the guide asked me if I minded if he shot an antelope.  The season had opened that day and he had two tags.  “Sure!” I said and he proceeded to put one on the ground.  Along with the two sage grouse and six brook trout, we had a Wyoming Trifecta!

 

Windy Enough to Flap My Ears

Windy Orange and White Wyoming Bird Dog

Windy Wyoming Bird Dog

Wyoming is Windy!  And it also has lots of big damn rocks.  The second day was beautiful and we were right in the middle of Bomber Country but the wind was a challenge.  It was blowing about 25 MPH and when Jill took a rest for a minute, I noticed that she was enjoying the cool breeze and a little ear flapping.  Whatever it takes to keep the dogs happy – without them – no birds!

 

A Bomber!

Grey and Tan Bomber Wyoming Sage Grouse

Bomber Wyoming Sage Grouse

Yeah, this one is substantially bigger than the ones from yesterday!  The old bombers are smart and wary.  We found them several times before we ever got within shooting range.  Jill is used to hunting smaller upland brids and getting within a few yards of a bird.  These bad boys hit the air if we got within 30 yards!  So, we slowed down, marked them when the busted and kept after them.  This is as close to stalk hunting as I’ve ever come with birds.  This bad boy jumped up at about 40 yards and headed downwind in a 25 MPH wind really fast.  I was shooting a 20ga with Full and IMod and hit him twice.  I saw him hunch when each shot hit him.  Nevertheless, he still sailed over 100 yards before he went down.  Thankfully, Jill is as good at finding dead birds as she is live ones!

 

A Cold Nasty Wyoming Hunt

White and Brown Cold Wyoming Hunt

Cold Wyoming Hunt

My third day in Wyoming hunting sage grouse started off very cold and wet.  So much so that most of the dirt roads were impassable – even in four wheel drive.  It was beautiful and I’ll always remember the stark, beautiful scenery of Wyoming but Damn!  This day was cold and nasty!  But, we’re here to hunt so hunt we shall!

 

Pheasants Back at the Ranch

Triple Orange, Brown and White Bird Dog Point

Triple Bird Dog Point

Since we weren’t having any luck out in the field, we went back to the lodge to help solve a problem – more on that in a minute.  Jason, the outfitter, has a preserve license for the area around the lodge for afternoon walk up hunts.  It’s easy country and mostly alfalfa and river bottoms so we put down all the dogs we had.  Jill doesn’t normally hunt with other dogs and doesn’t really know how to honor – or so I thought.  I’m not sure if she’s honoring another point or just pointing herself but I’d like to think it’s an honor.  It was fun to work a bunch of dogs at the same time – a little raucous at times but fun.

 

The Problem – Blinder Pheasants

Purple and Green Blinder Pheasants

Blinder Pheasants

OK, here’s the problem we were given to solve. Pen raised pheasants will peck each other to death in captivity.  So, they are given blinders to prevent this.  Usually, the blinders are removed prior to releasing them into the field to be hunted.  Jason had a new guy (FNG) who wasn’t entirely clear on this.  He hunted with us (or helped clean up the mess) and swore that he did notice the peculiarty but only did as he was instructed – put out the pheasants.  Well, we were given the job of finding those blindered birds.  We managed to turn into a form of Jackpot by giving scores to the different colors.  Purple was low, green was medium and orange was high.  It didn’t matter to me, I just liek shooting birds – no matter what the points are.  The FNG was a great sport and we ribbed him mercilessly while we hunted the blindered pheasants.  I think something like this can only happen in Wyoming.

 

Cold Wet Bird Hunting Dog

Cold Orange and White Bird Hunting Dog wrapped in Camo Parka

Cold Bird Hunting Dog

Jill is a super trooper and never fails to answer the call when it’s time to hunt.  Some hunts are more enjoyable than others.  This was a cold, wet, tough day and she was worn out by mid afternoon.  I put her in the truck and tossed my coat over her to help her warm up.  When I get in the truck a few minutes later, she had managed towrap the coat around her and even get the hood on properly.  I’m not sure what that looks means but I can guess that it’s nothing good.  I wouldn’t dream of hunting without her.

 

Wyoming Bombers and Blinder Pheasants – What More Could You Ask For?

I hunted sage grouse and was outfitted by Grey Reef Anglers out of Casper Wyoming.  Grey Reef is an Orvis recommended outfitter and Jason is an excellent outfitter, host and guide. Jason’s wife Judy makes sure everything is clean, comfortable and delicious.  I highly recommend him and his crew. I had hunted Wyoming the previous year for Huns and Chukars – both very worthy prey.  But, once I saw a bomber I knew I needed to come back. I’ve hunted Blue Grouse, Huns, Chukars, Pheasants and Sage Grouse in Wyoming.  If there weren’t another 41 states waiting for me, I’d go back in a heartbeat!
Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

Texas Dove Hunting Starts Again!

September 1st is almost a national holiday in Texas.  It always marks the beginning of Texas dove hunting and then follows with all of the other bird hunting seasons in Texas.  We are very fortunate to have a wide variety of winged friends in Texas.  We are especially lucky in Central Texas because the white winged dove roosts in our area most of the year.  We almost always have a tremendous dove hunting season in Central Texas.

Invasive Ring Necked Doves

White Ring Neck Dove with Red Blood after Hunting Invasive Doves in Texas

Hunting Invasive Doves in Texas

Eurasian collared doves (ECDs) area also known as ring necked doves.  They are an invasive, non-native species and just like pigeons, there is no season or limit.  They behave very much like pigeons – much more so than doves – and can be found in singles and large flocks around areas where there is loose grain.  Although there is no season on eurasian collared doves like there is for Texas dove hunting for white wing or mourning doves.  They are easily confused with white wing and mourning doves.  So, if you do hunt them out of season, be sure of your shot because the fines and penalties for hunting migratory birds out of season are very stiff!

Morning Goose Hunt in North Texas

Brown, White and Black Canada Goose Decoys on Red Sand for Texas Waterfowl Hunt Sunrise

Texas Waterfowl Hunt Sunrise

Texas is fortunate to be the winter resting ground for hundreds of thousands of Canada Geese and Texas Waterfowl hunting is one of our best kept secrets.  While they can be found as far South as Mexico, they are typically most numerous in the panhandle region of Texas.  The Lubbock and Amarillo area have sections of farming ground with wheat, corn and peanuts that keep the Texas waterfowl hunting going strong throughout the entire season.

Texas Pigeon Hunting

Pigeon Hunt Sunrise of Orange Sunrise with Yellow corn stalks and Red dirt

Pigeon Hunt Sunrise

I LOVE hunting pigeons.  They are tough, fast and smart and make a very worthy foe.  They are not like Texas dove hunting.  I prefer to hunt pigeons in a scouted area where they leave their town roosts to feed during the day.  There are a variety of pigeon decoys available but numerous ground decoy socks and a couple of wind driven decoys is all it usually takes.  When the pigeons want into your location to feed, they are going to come and then keep coming.  There is no season or limit on pigeons, nor are there any load restrictions. So, take out your plug and grab your magazine extension.  If the pigs are flying, you’ll need the extra shots!

Big Pigeon Harvest

445 Grey Pigeons on Red Sand Texas Pigeon Hunt Results

Texas Pigeon Hunt Results

A typical pigeon hunt with well decoyed pigeons can result in as many as 200 birds harvested in a couple hours.  This was a spectacular hunt with three shooters and an endless supply of pigeons and occurred over 90 minutes of shooting time.  Thanks Brian!

My New Duck Hunting Pond

Little Texas Duck Pond of brown muddy water in brown muddy ground

Little Texas Duck Pond

I farm a little in my off season between March and August.  I had some extra time and a new tractor so I decided to dig a duck pond in my back yard.  I had to promise my wife that I wouldn’t hunt it and I’m OK with that.  We have some wood ducks in the area and it would be nice to see them during the off season.  I’d also be pleased of the doves discovered the water hole as well.  I figure that a bit of practice on the doves with a pellet gun will sharpen my skills in the field with my 28 ga.  Nevertheless, it was fun digging the pond – now if it will only hold water – I’ll be ready for Texas duck hunting!

Cool Texas Dove Hunting Dog

Orange and White Dog in Blue Plastic Tub after Hot Texas Dove Hunting

Hot Texas Dove Hunting

September 1st starts Texas Dove Hunting and it is still very hot.  I’ve seen many casual hunting dogs come out to the field and get hurt really bad by the heat.  I make it a practice to take a small dog bath and fill it with water from my truck’s 15 gallon water tank each time I hunt with my dog.  This immersion in water, especially on her belly and paws, goes a long way to keeping my dog healthy, cool and performing on both ends of the day. Texas duck hunting provides more than enough water and cold weather to keep my buddy cool and performing.

Open Field Dove Hunting

Open Field with Green Grass and Blue Sky Hunting Texas Mourning Doves

Open Field Hunting Texas Mourning Doves

Texas has a wide variety of landscapes and our doves and ducks can be found in almost all of them.  I especially enjoy open field hunting for white wing and mourning doves because I can watch their antics for longer.  It also gives the doves an opportunity to see me and provide tougher shots.  I’ve come to understand that the biggest joy of Texas dove hunting is making the occasional spectacular shot.  My goal is not to fill my bag with a limit.  My goal is to have as many tough shots as possible and only have to quit when I reach the limit.  Yeah, I burn more shells but I also make more shots that I remember for man many years.

Sunrise Dove Hunt in the Texas Brush

Texas Whitewing Dove Hunting

Green grass pasture with light blue sky in background Whitewing Dove Hunting

I also like an early morning mourning dove hunt in the Texas brush.  The little grey rockets come zipping right at the tree tops and every shot is a reaction shot in poor light.  Fair warning though, don’t attempt this unless you have a good dog.  Trying to find the ones you hit in thick brush right at daylight can be more than a little challenge! Texas dove hunting for mourning doves is a tough sport!

Summary of Texas Dove Hunting Starts Again

Texas Dove hunting has started and Texas duck hunting is only a few weeks away. There is an abundance of pigeons and Eurasian Collared Doves in Texas.  They are both invasive species and there are no limits or seasons to hunt them. We’re fortunate to winter many thousands of geese and a morning sunrise over goose decoys is something to behold. Texas dove hunting is hot and keeping your dog cool in a water tank or bath will help your friend keep working for you on both ends of the day.  The terrain available in Texas for dove hunting is spectacular and the choices are rich.
Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

The End of Duck Hunting in Texas

The end of Texas waterfowl hunting season is always a sad and happy day for me.  Sad because I can’t get up well before the crack of dawn and go off into the cold water.  Happy because I’m tired and I need the rest.  I hunt hard and hunt ducks extra hard – that’s part of the continuing thrill for me – to see how far out there I can go to meet them where they are.  But, I have a ton of very fond memories to last me through the warm weather until they come back in the Fall.

Foggy Sunrise While Texas Duck Hunting

Wispy White Foggy Sunrise Texas Duck Hunting

Foggy Sunrise Texas Duck Hunting

I love Texas duck hunting and I’ve seen countless stunning sunrises sitting in a duck blind – some bright and crystal clear and some foggy where it just keeps rolling over in wave after wave.  We have a lot of temperature inversions in the central Texas area and early morning fog is common.  It’s especially cool to hear them well before you see them.  I wear hearing protection and amplifiers so I hear better than most of my hunting buddies.  Nevertheless, the coolest mornings are when you can hear them literally falling into the honey hole but can’t see squat.  Drive my duck dog nuts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Sunrise Waterfowl Hunting

Orange, Blue and Grey Multi Colored Sunrise Duck Hunting in Rockport Texas

Multi Colored Sunrise Duck Hunting in Rockport Texas

I also frequently hunt the Texas Gulf Coast in the Rockport Texas area.  I’m always amazed and the huge quantity of ducks that winter in the Gulf Coast area.  Add to that, that you can see forever down there and the sunrises never fail to amaze and you have a recipe for a once in a lifetime hunt.  We’re fortunate (or unfortunate) that our section of the coast looks East so we get the benefit of beautiful sunrises but pay for it slightly later when the sun is right in our eyes.  All things of true value, especially when Texas waterfowl hunting, require some price to be paid.

 

 

 

 

 

New Rig for Texas Duck Hunting

Yellow Woven Grass and Camo Stool as Texas Duck Hunting Blind Setup

Texas Duck Hunting Blind Setup

I love experimenting with my Texas duck hunting gear!  I also enjoy getting into duck hunting places that are not generally accessible to others.  I’ve been experimenting with a light weight portable blind and think I’ve finally come up with a rig that works well.  It’s easy to hide behind, very light to pack in and out, cheap (a big one) and simple to setup.  It’s made out of a couple 4 x 4 sheets of woven blind grass and a couple 4′ pieces of 3/8″ conduit with a small angle bracket bolted to the top.  It holds up quite well and is big enough to conceal me and the dog.  As the end of the season approaches, a lot of the natural blind material and hides are gone so this let’s me get into and hunt places that other’s can’t – and I like that.

 

 

 

 

Texas Duck Hunting Blind in Travel Mode

Yellow Grass Duck Hunting Blind with Orange and White Dog Ready for Transport

Duck Hunting Blind Ready for Transport

A critical aspect of my portable Texas duck hunting blind is that I can pack it in and out by hand if needed.  In this situation, I simply roll the grass mats around the conduit pipes and tie them together with bungee cords.  I can carry it as easily as I carry my gun or can strap it to my backpack for longer distances.  My dog likes it too because she can easily see around it without having to be completely covered up.  Hey, if the dog’s not happy then change what you’re doing, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Pheasant Hunt Charity Shoot

12 Adults and Children in a Cut Hay Pasture after a Texas Pheasant Hunt

Texas Pheasant Hunt

The end of duck hunting season brings a short month of quail and pheasant charity shoots.  I was tickled this year to be invited to a Wounded Warrior shoot at Dime Box Quail.  The format was a modified drive hunt or Semi-Euro Hunt but we don’t have many cliffs in Central Texas so they just shot the pheasants out of a very large slingshot.  Yeah, interestingly enough it worked!  The walk up hunt afterward was just a fruitful and enjoyable!  Kudos to our Wounded Warriors and I’m planning on doubling my sponsorship level next year so that more veterans can take advantage of this great opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

New Long Choke for Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Round Black Titanium Texas Duck Hunting Choke

Texas Duck Hunting Choke

I’m an equipment junkie, especially when it comes to shotguns and waterfowl.  I shot a few rounds at the World English Tournament in San Antonio and found this choke in the vendor market place.  I’ve known about Mueller chokes for quite some time and seen them gain some great shooters as sponsors.  I’m generally happy with my Briley chokes for my Benelli Super Black Eagle but this one caught my eye.  I tend toward tighter chokes in general with the belief that they either knock them down or miss them completely.  Non toxic shot is tough enough on crippling birds and I don’t want to improve that crippling ratio by using open chokes.  This one though – called the UFO – how could I pass it up?  My current favorite is a Buck Gardner Extended Range but the owner of Mueller chokes told me he could knock down geese at well over 60 yards so I just had to give it a try.  As luck would have it, I’m going out to the range this afternoon to break it in. I can’t wait for Texas waterfowl hunting season to open!

 

 

 

 

 

Little Duck Boat Modifications

New Black Steele Motor Mount on Camo Painted Boat for Duck Hunting in Texas Rivers

New Motor Mount for Duck Hunting in Texas Rivers

Lastly, my newish Little Duck Boat.  Yeah, I have a Little Duck Boat and a Big Duck Boat – well, actually, my wife has a Texas duck hunting boat fleet and she let’s me use them when I behave.  This one, a Final Attack from BeaverTail is a real sweety!  I put a 2.5 HP Coleman outboard on it ($650 from Cabelas) and she runs like a champ.  She has wheels embedded in the transom so I can drag her down to the water – no need for boat launches!  The only problem was that the motor shaft was a bit long for the boat – even using the short shaft model.  So, I had an engineering buddy build me a small metal life to get my prop even with the keel.  I tried it out last weekend and it works great.  I do get a little cavitation when the throttle is above 70% but I also can now make it through much shallower water.  That help because the low design of the boat makes it a challenge to get in and out of, especially when water is shallow and flowing more rapidly.  Honestly, this rig is everything your six-year-old self wanted in a motor boat.

 

 

Summary of End of Duck Hunting in Texas

Texas duck hunting season is over and I’m both sad and happy – at least I get to sleep in a little now – if the dog would just let me rest!  I’ll miss the glorious sunrises, the sound of ducks I can’t and the forever vistas of the Texas Gulf Coast.  My experiments with new rigs went very well this season and I’m excited about trying some new things this Fall.  Lastly, my little duck boat has a shallower draft and now I can get into even more obscure places!

Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

 

Texas Dove Hunting and The Heat!

Texas dove hunting is almost a national sport in the state of Texas.  We start looking forward to it about mid July.  Yeah, it’s still hot out there but we don’t mind.  It’s always amazing to see how many people get out for opening day – especially the kids who can look forward to a day out of school if their parents are hunters.  Texas dove hunting is not something that you’d want to miss if you’re a hunter!

 

 

 

Texas Dove Hunting in the Early Morning

Texas dove hunting in Green fields and blue sky with grey and white mojo dove spinners

Cool green fields are very inviting for early morning bird hunting in Texas.

Almost all of the fields look great early in the morning – cool, green and inviting for the migrating whitewing and mourning doves in the area.  We are blessed in Central Texas for Texas dove hunting to have a year-round population of white wing doves to watch and monitor during the off season.  Mojo spinning wing decoys continue to work well for us.  Sometimes, if your patient, the doves will actually land right at the decoy!

 

 

 

Staying Cool While Texas Dove Hunting

Orange and White dog sits in blue bath container to cool off.

Little Dog cools off in her own doggy bath during a hot Texas dove hunt.

The summer heat still persists in Texas during September and keeping a dog cool while Texas bird hunting can be a challenge.  The easy approach is hunt near water where the birds come to drink.  I prefer to have more options and hunt longer so I tend to hunt fields without water and bring my own water.  I’ve repurposed a discount doggy bath as a portable water trough for my dog and I keep it filled next to the truck for drinking and cooling off.  I also make sure that she is in very good condition when the season starts.  I’ve sen too many fat, out of shape dogs get heat stroke during Texas dove hunting season.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Dry Fields = Texas Bird Hunting

Dry Brown Grass Field used for Texas Bird Hunting

Hot, dry short grass fields are sometimes good locations for Texas bird hunting.

It’s not uncommon to find yourself Texas dove hunting in parched, brown, dry fields.  Don’t be fooled.  There are many many seeds laying on the ground and white wing and mourning doves are very opportunistic feeders.  Some scouting late in the evening or early morning will give you your best clues as to where the birds are to hunt in Texas.

 

 

 

Texas Bird Hunting Buddy

Orange and White Brittany holding Whitewing Dove

Little Dog finds retrieving dove hot, thirsty work in September!

No matter what, Texas dove hunting with your best friend is always the best.  My best friend for hunting is my dog – and she works like crazy to make sure that we collect every bird we hunt – no matter how hot it is.  Doves have a ton of feathers and getting a mouthful of air around all those feathers can be a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of Texas Dove Hunting

Texas dove hunting is an eagerly awaited sport for many thousands of Texas hunters.  Mornings bring cool, green inviting fields and the mid morning and afternoon heat can be parching!  It’s important to stay hydrated during the heat – especially your dog!

Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation

Late Summer is a favorite time because I start my preparations for Texas waterfowl hunting.  It’s time to clean and freshen the decoys, check my safety gear and do a little scouting for likely places to hunt.  My decoys take a beating every year so I like to weed out the most damaged ones and add a few new duck decoys to my mix.  I also like to do a detailed review of all of my safety gear – flashlights, knives, PFD and backpack – just to make sure that I’m prepared in case I get into a mess.  Lastly, it’s time to put the duck boat on the river and see what we can see.  I’m not a fisherman so I don’t boat much during the off-season and putting the boat back in the water for Texas waterfowl hunting always makes my heart beat a little faster.

Texas Waterfowl Hunting Decoys

Two White Boxes of Duck Decoys for Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation

New Duck Decoys for Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation

There is nothing like a couple boxes of fresh decoys waiting for me on the porch to get me excited about Texas waterfowl hunting.  I prefer Greenhead Gear decoys, and in particular, their blue winged teal and puddler packs.  They seem to be perfectly suited to the duck hunting in Central Texas.  I also love the Mojo Texas Rigs for lines and weights.  Sure, it might be a bit cheaper to make them myself but buying them ready made sure is easy.

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Flotation Device

Camo Life Vest is Texas Waterfowl Hunting Safety

Camo Life Vest for Texas Waterfowl Hunting Safety

I mainly hunt the river near my house and it isn’t deep in many places.  That said, there are areas where it is easy to get in trouble and having your waders full of water can send you to the bottom or down stream very quickly.  I dislike full size PFDs but found that I can easily tolerate the quick inflate PFDs.  I don’t use the one’s with automatic inflation because I frequently take a dip in the river and don’t want it going off accidentally.  These PFDs aren’t cheap but if you read enough stories about waterfowl hunters getting into trouble on the water, I think you’ll agree that it’s a worthwhile investment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UV Paint for Decoys

Twelve Mallard Decoys Painted for Texas Waterfowl Decoy Prep

UV Painted Texas Waterfowl Decoy Prep

I have some older, crappy decoys that don’t float very well and are mallards.  We don’t have (m)any mallards in Central Texas waterfowl hunting so these were prime candidates for an experiment.  I’ve read advertisements about special UV paint that birds can see.  I ordered the paint kit and used the UV paints on my mallard decoys.  I’m planning on running several experiments this year to see if these UV painted decoys work any differently.  Now, the chips will be stacked against these decoys because they are not only mallards but also because my decoy painting skills are horrible.  Add to that, that it will be embarrassing as all get out if I am seen by my hunting buddies doing this, especially given my atrocious decoy painting skills!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scouting

White Dog & Young Girl in Pink Along for Texas Waterfowl Scouting

Dog and Daughter Help me with Texas Waterfowl Scouting

Nothing beats a late summer scouting trip with my duck boat, dog and daughter!  The duck boat doesn’t care.  The dog is HIGHLY interested and the daughter just does it to humor her Dad.  Nonetheless, I’m always excited about the scouting trips and the endless possibilities we discover.  There aren’t any ducks here yet but finding likely spots and then access points to those spots puts me a little bit ahead of the lazier people for Texas waterfowl hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of Texas Waterfowl Hunting Preparation

Late summer preparation for Texas waterfowl hunting is an exciting time for me.  I enjoy getting new decoys and cleaning up the ones that served me so well last year.  It’s also an opportunity to check and repair my safety gear.  I’m attempting an experiment this year with UV paints on some of my older decoys.  It’s a bit embarrassing but if it works, I’ll be very pleased.  Lastly, a late summer river scouting trip with my favorite hunting buddies is always a treat – even if there aren’t any ducks here yet.

Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

Texas Waterfowl Hunting – Early Teal Season

Texas waterfowl season is approaching rapidly.  It’s time to start scouting general locations and getting the gear cleaned up and repaired.  While the USFWS hasn’t set the final dates for late season waterfowl, the Early Teal Season dates have been set.  Time to get ready for some hot mornings, mosquitoes and another season to Texas waterfowl hunting!

 

 

 

 

Scouting Texas Waterfowl with the Duck Dog

White Brittany and Green Boat Scouting for Texas Waterfowl

Time to Start Scouting for Texas Waterfowl

In my opinion, it’s never too early to take the dog on the duck boat and scout likely locations for Texas waterfowl hunting- especially in parts of the river that I haven’t hunted before.  I like my “known locations” and “honey holes” but I also enjoy finding new places and giving them a try.  If I can find at least one new waterfowl hunting location each year then the chances of successful hunts increases.  ANd who would even consider scouting for new duck hunting locations without taking their duck dog?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Adjacent Areas for Salt Water Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Google Earth Image of an Ideal Spot for Texas Waterfowl Hunting

The Ideal Spot for Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Early teal like salt water estuaries and I like to hunt them there.  My experience tells me they tend to like open areas more in the morning and closer, more protected areas for late afternoon hunts.  I found a nice little spot that accomplishes both – open areas for the morning and some closed ponds for late afternoon. We’re fortunate with Texas waterfowl hunting to have so many choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for the Teal!

Grey Teal Decoys against Dark Blue Storm Clouds while Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Storm Approaching While Texas Waterfowl Hunting

I also like that early teal season doesn’t require a ton of decoys.  In Texas waterfowl hunting on the salt water, it seems that about a dozen decoys works just fine to bring in small flocks of tasty birds.  I also like that teal decoys are smaller and lighter.  That salt water sure eats up a decoy though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redneck Texas Waterfowl Hunting Blind

Orange Deck Chair and Green Palm Leaves make a Redneck Texas Waterfowl Hunting Blind

Texas Waterfowl Hunting Blind – Redneck Style!

Another cool aspect of hunting early season teal on the Texas Gulf Coast is red neck blinds.  Teal don’t always cooperate real well and come to the nice dry wooden blinds.  No problem!  A couple of palm fronds and some lawn chairs is usually plenty of cover for the fast moving little guys.  It also makes it much easier to scout and locate birds in new areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mostly Male Texas Waterfowl Harvested

7 Blue Wing Teal on Green Grass Texas Waterfowl - Early Season Teal

Early Season Teal Harvest of Texas Waterfowl

I just noticed this last year and found some online information that seemed to back it up.  Most of the birds harvested during early teal season in Texas waterfowl hunting are males.  While their plumage isn’t the best, I do find it very itneresting that most of them are males – very seldom a hen harvested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of Texas Waterfowl Hunting – Early Teal Season

Texas waterfowl hunting season is almost upon us.  Early Teal season starts in less than a month and it’s time to start getting ready – stock up on mosquito spray!  I love scouting new likely locations with my duck dog – even though there aren’t any birds yet I can always identify likely locations to give a try.  Texas Gulf Cost water fowl hunting is also a blast as it provides a variety of open and closed areas for different waterfowl preferences.  Building new blinds or using last year’s blinds isn’t necessary with early teal season – just use a redneck blind!  Most birds harvested in early teal season are males – seldom a hen to be seen – which is fine.  It’s really tough to tell drakes from hens on teal when they swoop in early in the morning and I really dislike harvesting hens.

Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

 

Summer Practice for Quail Hunting in Texas

Summer Practice for Quail Hunting in Texas

Summer doldrums – time for some practice for quail hunting in Texas. My dog is a naturally bred pointer but those pointing dogs can also develop some nasty and unsafe habits if they aren’t trained on a regular basis. Particularly, breaking from steady to wing and steady to shot…read more

 

A Bird Launcher to Practice Quail Hunting in Texas

Green and White Bird Launcher for Training Quail Hunting in Texas
Bird Launcher for Training Quail Hunting in Texas

A bird launcher looked to be a very good tool for training the dog to be steady to wing and shot. My dog trainer used it very successfully…read more

 

Pigeons are Not a Texas Pheasant Hunt

Grey and White Pigeons for Practicing Texas Pheasant Hunting
Pigeons for Practicing Texas Pheasant Hunting

I don’t have a ready source of quail in the Spring and Summer so I had to go find some pigeons. I don’t have any access to pheasants either and I do enjoy a Texas pheasant hunt…read more

 

Practice for Texas Bird Hunting

Grey and Blue Pigeon Training for Texas Bird Hunting
Pigeon Training for Texas Bird Hunting

Pigeons are big birds and my dog really got excited about the idea. It was actually great training…read more

 

Launching Practice Birds for Quail Hunting in Texas

Launching Pigeons in Green Grass for Practice Quail Hunting in Texas
Launching Pigeons for Practice Quail Hunting in Texas

I loaded a single pigeon in the trap and set it. I then hunted the dog around the area until she went on point. Once she went on point, I released the bird and corrected her if she broke from point when the bird launched. It only took once to remind the dog what the program was. Following that, I used a starter pistol with blanks to mimic shooting at the bird. Again, she only broke once with a reminder before she remembered that part of the game as well. On all subsequent birds, she did her job when it was evident to her that I had missed again – she stayed on point and then looked back at me with a disgusted look on her face as I missed yet again. Nevertheless, it was good training as an occasional reminder during the Summer to keep her memory fresh about the rules of the game of quail hunting in Texas.

 

 

Summary of Summer Practice for Quail Hunting in Texas

There is a long dry stretch between the seasons for quail hunting in Texas and a dog’s memory regarding the rules of the game – steady to wing and steady to shot – can get a little rusty since our last time Texas bird hunting. I purchased a bird launcher and a few pigeons to give a try at some backyard training for a Texas pheasant hunt. The training went well – although I wouldn’t do it often as it was labor intensive – and the dog’s memory was successfully refreshed and she’s ready again for another season of quail hunting in Texas.

Texas Dove Hunt | Duck Hunting in Texas | Goose Hunting in Texas | Texas Pheasant Hunt | Quail Hunting in Texas | Texas Sporting Clays

 

 

Practice for Texas Bird Hunting

 

Grey and Blue Pigeon Training for Texas Bird Hunting

Pigeon Training for Texas Bird Hunting

Pigeons are big birds and my dog really got excited about the idea. It was actually great training just to have the dog sit and watch me while I handled the birds. They are also bigger than quail and very visible so they make good practice targets for quail hunting in Texas. This turned out to be more effort than I originally expected but probably worth it to be ready for Texas bird hunting.