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Migration Alert: Texas - Available water an issue throughout the state


High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Opening weekend in the Panhandle saw lackluster results due to an absence of water. Very few playas, if any, are wet, so habitat is stressed. Most ducks were taken over feed lot ponds. Melting snow from last week's cold front left a little moisture, but the region is in dire need of rain to sustain the winter waterfowl population. Sandhill crane numbers look good; however, lack of roosting water might be a problem as the season progresses. Duck season reopens and runs Nov.4-Jan.29, 2012. Goose season runs Nov.5 in the West Zone. That season also opens Nov. 5. Prospects are fair.

North Zone Duck: Duck season opens Nov. 5 and best prospects have been found on lakes and reservoirs still holding water. Lack of ponds and sloughs have ducks concentrated on big waters. The problem lies with access to these large water bodies, as many boat ramps are inoperable due to extreme low water conditions. Mobile hunters with shallow-running flatbottoms able to traverse muddy timber should see good shoots. The front that blew through last week brought new birds to the area and deposited wigeons, gadwalls and teal on lakes and reservoirs. The coastal region continues to suffer from the drought, however, many hunters have the ability to pump water from wells. Another front this week should encourage more birds to move to Texas, though most coastal prairie ponds holding water are already covered with ducks. Prospects are fair to good.

South Zone Duck: Opening day is Nov. 5 and prospects look excellent if you have access to water. Coastal prairie ponds are black with ducks and specklebellies, and a few snow geese showed with last week's front. Concentrations of dark geese on the ground indicate a good hatch of young specklebellies, which should encourage steady decoying action. The front forecasted for this week should shove more light geese to the coast. Reports along the bay flats indicate good numbers of pintails, wigeons, gadwalls and redheads. More divers are showing daily with fronts. Bay hunters should enjoy steadier hunting this year with the lack of water on the coastal prairies. Prospects are good.

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