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Habitat conditions improve for final weeks in Texas

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Varying conditions have been a major factor in hunter success throughout Texas. With reports and prospects looking fair or good for the remainder of the 2010-11 duck season, Texas waterfowlers can hope to take advantage of improved habitat conditions from recent precipitation.  

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Excellent decoying action for Canada geese has been reported throughout the week. Some outfitters have said the past week was the best decoying of the season. Best hunts have come over corn and wheat. More snow geese have been cooperative lately. Larger Canada geese have moved in to Texas with freezing temperatures to the north, and more are expected with snow in the forecast. Duck hunting has been solid in the Panhandle, but few hunters have taken advantage. Better duck hunts have come around Lubbock and Knox City. Duck season runs through Jan. 23. The West Zone goose season runs through Feb. 6. Prospects are good.

North Zone Duck: The region received needed rain over the past few weeks that helped hunting in backwater sloughs and bayous. Wood ducks continue to impress across the region. Divers, including scaup, ringed-necks, canvasbacks and a few goldeneyes, have been solid on Lake Fork, Lake O'Pines, Caddo Lake, Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn. Mallard action has improved around Palestine, Fairfield, Marshall, Longview and Texarkana. Good hunts for woodies and mallards have been enjoyed near Franklin and Centerville. Prairie ponds near the coast have been fair at best. The season runs through Jan. 23. Prospects are fair to good.

South Zone Duck: Duck hunting has been fair at best along the coast. Hunters in Garwood, Eagle Lake, El Campo and Wharton have seen only scattered concentrations of ducks, despite good habitat conditions since the recent rains. Bay hunters have enjoyed limits of redheads and pintails, but a six-bird limit has been hard to attain. Good numbers are using shoalgrass in Port O'Connor, Seadrift, Rockport, Baffin Bay and Port Mansfield, but duck flights have been quick and early. Scaup and gadwalls have been fair for half-limits in Trinity Bay. Good numbers of teal and gadwalls have been seen in Collegeport. Goose hunters have seen fair results, with best concentrations around Wharton. Snows have cooperated with wind and low clouds. Canada goose numbers have improved and been best over winter wheat. White-fronted goose season closed Jan. 9. Sandhill cranes remain solid, and best shoots have come around canals close to roost ponds. Duck and crane season runs through Jan. 23. Prospects are fair to good.

Report provided by TPWD.

For migration reports in your area, visit DU's migration map.

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