By Bink Grimes, WF360 Texas Migration Editor
After a solid start to the waterfowl season, many hunters in Texas's South Zone have reported lackluster results since the season reopened. It has been perplexing for many veteran waterfowlers and outfitters because the coastal prairies and marshes are full of ducks.
"It has just been a weird year," says guide Matt Sbrusch. "On many mornings, the birds just don't move. The second season opened on the brightest moon that I can ever remember, and it hurt our hunting."
Sbrusch adds that recent bluebird days have also impacted hunting success.
"We need weather to have solid shoots," says guide Brian Davenport. "It has been clear, cold and calm, and that is a recipe for slow shoots in the marsh."
Hunters around Matagorda, Rockport and Port O'Connor should benefit as many inland ponds are now barely holding water due to a lack of winter rainfall and ducks redistribute to coastal waters. Reports indicate that the bays and flats have received a recent influx of redheads, pintails and scaup.
Snow goose hunters have also been enjoying improved success as the birds have shifted to feeding in fields of rye grass, wheat and plowed ground with green winter sprouts.
"The geese have been decoying well," says guide Harlan Boettcher. "We have been having good hunts in pastures with green growth and those over-seeded with rye grass for cattle."
Sbrusch echoes those sentiments. "We have been waiting for the geese to finally flip a switch and hit the green," he says. "When they do that, the hunting gets real good as long as you have some wind to make them work. The birds kind of lose a little of their wariness."
Here's hoping the ducks lose a little of their late-season wariness too.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, author, waterfowler and licensed captain. A waterfowl guide in his 24th campaign, Grimes resides in Bay City, Texas. He will provide detailed migration and hunting reports for waterfowl360.com throughout the 2013-2014 season for Texas waterfowlers.