Public Duck Hunting in Texas

I love duck hunting in Texas.  I used to belong to a duck hunting club on the Katy Prairie but resigned my membership this year and bought a small john boat and motor, along with a public hunting permit.  I live very near the COlorado River and wanted to experience more duck hunting and less duck shooting.  Well, I definitely got my wish and I’ve had more amazing adventures than I can remember.  Being near the river – really, about 15 minutes – has allowed me to log well over 25 duck hunting days and I still have a month to go.  Duck hunting in Texas has never been better for me.

 

Public Duck Hunting in Texas

Grey Muddy Water and Barren Trees in a Texas Duck Hunting Public Access Pond

Texas Duck Hunting Public Access Pond

The Texas Public Hunting Permit also get’s you a booklet with maps, limits and description of all of the places for duck hunting in Texas.  Oh yeah, it also includes other waterfowl, doves, quail and large and small game.  I’m not so interested in those, although the dove hunting was pretty good this year.  Since I’m near the Colorado River, that is my prime spot for duck hunting in Texas.  A little internet scouting for side ponds, rapids/riffles, sand islands and deep holes is the place to start.  Google Maps and Google Earth are both good tools and seem to use the same set of base maps.  That said, nothing beats actually getting in the boat and doing some real scouting.  The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year, and I’m a neophyte duck hunter, is that the ducks are ALWAYS where they want to be and seldom where I think they would like to be.  Early morning scouting can provide some clues and late afternoon can provide some more clues but nothing beats just getting out there and giving it a try.

 

Limit Duck Hunts in Texas

Siz Black and Grey Puddle Ducks in a Texas Duck Hunting Mixed Bag

Texas Duck Hunting Mixed Bag

Since it is public duck hunting in Texas, don’t be surprised if you find someone “already in your spot”.  My experience is that this is generally OK and most Texas duck hunters are polite enough to either let you hunt with them or not object if you just move on down a little ways.  Ask nicely, be generous and mind your manners when you’re hunting with new friends – you’ll probably find that you make new friends and find a new hunting buddy.  I found several this year and a hunt shared is always better than a hunt alone.  Also, I don’t think it is reasonable to expect limit hunts every time.  If you want that, then a duck club is probably more in line with what you want.  That said, there are limit days and they are magnificent.  I am particularly impressed with the wide variety of ducks that winter on the Colorado River.  I’ve come to believe that the river is some of our finest duck hunting in Texas.

 

Duck Hunting Gear in Texas

Orange and White Brittany with Camo Ground Cover and Green Backpack as a Texas Duck Hunting Rig

Texas Duck Hunting Rig

It doesn’t take a lot of equipment for duck hunting in Texas.  A dog is very helpful since you never know what you’re going to find on the bottom of the river – it might be sand or rocks or it might be 2 feet of mud.  I’ve cross trained my bird dog as a retriever and she does just fine.  After that, a small backpack, ground cloth, shotgun and a few decoys is really all you need.  You probably won’t see huge flights of ducks working the river like you do on the coast.  So, a smaller spread seems to work just fine for duck hunting in Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

Wide Variety of Texas Ducks

Six Various Puddle Ducks make a Texas Duck Hunting Limit

Texas Duck Hunting Limit

Another nice mixed bag from duck hunting in Texas.  Again, don’t expect limit hunts every time – some days you just get lucky and find yourself on the X.  Otherwise, you’re going to see single and pairs but they do seem to work three times each morning starting a 7AM and then again around 8AM and 9AM.  It really depends on the sunshine and number of other hunters on the river.  Less sunshine is good and more hunters are good as well.  There is plenty of river and plenty of ducks for everyone to enjoy duck hunting in Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

Scouting for Duck Hunting in Texas

Orange and White Brittany Spaniel Working as a Texas Duck Hunting Retriever

Texas Duck Hunting Retriever

I like trying new spots and new times.  I’ve heard the afternoons can be good but I haven’t found the right combination yet.  Nevertheless, I do like getting out in the afternoon to do some scouting for Texas duck hunting and my dog never denies me the chance to go duck hunting in Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duck Hunting Blinds in Texas Rivers

Brittany with Ducks abd shotgun showing Texas Duck Hunting Results

Texas Duck Hunting Results

My experience is that duck blinds aren’t really as important as most people think – at least not on the river for the number of ducks we have.  I guess if you’re hunting a high volume pond it might make a difference but a simple stack of sticks to break up the lines seems to do just fine.  Now, they don’t decoy all the way in and will get smart about 25 yards out but that’s well within my range and gathering a pile of loose brush and sticks is easier than hauling a complicated blind out into the field for duck hunting in Texas.  Even my bright orange and white bird dog doesn’t seem to scare the ducks off.

 

 

 

 

 

Small Islands for Duck Hunting in Texas

Sparse Island with Hunter Showing a Texas Duck Hunting Blind

Texas Duck Hunting Blind

Island in the river seem to be an excellent place for duck hunting in Texas.  They are even better when they have some loose brush to build a redneck duck blind.  An added attraction is that the small islands also tend to have rapids or riffles near by and the morning ducks seem to like these areas.  It also helps that the rapids/riffles wiggle my decoys and I don’t need a jerk rig.  That said, I’ve lost more than my fair share of duck decoys this season.  I have to imagine that there is some slough near the mouth of the Colorado River that has just thousands of loose decoys at the end of the season – I’d sure like to find that place – would certainly save me a lot of money replacing lost decoys for my duck hunting in Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of Duck Hunting in Texas

Public duck hunting in Texas is just fine – plenty of opportunities and locations – just make sure you’re legal with the Public Hunting Permit when you get your license.  Do your scouting!  It’s OK to ask on the chat boards but a lot of the people there will be snarky about “their secret spots”.  Expect to have to do your own internet and physical scouting.  I like to use a duck hunting trip to a new location as part of my scouting.  I’m out for the adventure rather than the bag limits.  The Texas duck variety is wonderful and it doesn’t take a whole lot of equipment for duck hunting in Texas.  Step out to a new place and meet some new people who can share a boat ride and decoys with you.  A dog helps but isn’t entirely necessary, you’ll just need to be aware of where you’re shooting so your ducks don’t float down river faster than you can retrieve them.  Islands with rapids and riffle also make great places for duck hunting in Texas

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