Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

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Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby jjj56028 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:22 am

Hello,
Just wondering if there were any other South Texas coastal hunters on here, and wondering if ya'll were seeing ducks. I hunt various areas around Baffin (places where I can get a 12ft 5hp boat into safely and back with out dying ). But haven't really seen a whole lot of ducks at all. its really quite depressing. There are plenty of snows and specks in the area, but can never get a shot off with out sky busting them. And there is wave after wave of sandhills in the mornings. but it just seems like there is no ducks in the area. I have found some congregations of puddlers in fresh water ponds and tanks. but nothing like what it should be by now. We haven't seen the constant huge rafts of reds that the area is know for. I know I cant go to every spot around baffin (because of my boat) and scout/hunt but I have gone to multiple areas with the same results. I haven't hunted in corpus yet this year. Really because i haven't scouted there yet, and baffin is closer since I live in kingsville. I was just wondering if any other fellow South Texan Waterfowlers were experiencing the same problem. I might just switch gears to specifically hunting cranes since the season has been open for a week now, and they like to take the same flight paths every morning I've been out. Please let me know if any one has any insight on the ducks in the area.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby :-) » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:24 am

It sucks all along the coastal bend...you may want to check further south. I'm being serious.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby stumpjumper1590 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:30 am

Smiley ain't lying! First half was pretty good to us, this second half is $hit.


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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby hawkeye55 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:40 am

First half was decent to good, was much harder work than 3 previous seasons though. Second split started out good, then quickly ran out of birds in the Aransas Bay area. Started my annual shift to the laguna a couple weeks earlier than usual to find not many birds there either. So continued to hit fresh water leases couple times a week.

Have found some decent numbers in fresh water. Also the ponds on the island are full, on the national seashore they are at capacity (of course no hunting pressure).

Every year for the last 30 years the birds start to leave the marsh (notice I stated marsh) due to a combination of hunting pressure and our seasonal low tides. The winter low tide (full moon in December and Jan) if coupled with hard north wind reduces the available marsh significantly in Aransas Bay up to San Antonio Bay (as far north as I hunt on a regular basis). Combine this with increased hunting pressure around Christmas holidays and the birds usually move out. Used to be only the last couple weeks of the season, then I started to notice that they were starting to move out by first week in Jan last 5-6 years. We were still able to do well by adjusting our locations and tactics. This year they moved out during the first week of the second split, hopefully some will return or new will come in. I also experienced more airboats in the marsh than I have ever seen or heard this year, along with a "normal" number of outboards and mudmotors opening weekend. We shot limits for 3. This was the exception, as many were discussing "finishing" up their limits with an afternoon hunt. By the next Thursday almost no birds in the marsh, 3 of us shot 12 and an airboat group of 4 that was deeper in the marsh with a better spot was skunked. Too other groups near us did not shoot as much as we did, they left early so did not visit with them at the ramp.

I am sure this will not please some hunters but here goes:
At some point with the huge increase in the population in our state and the increased popularity of duck hunting if we can not figure out how to let the birds have a time and place to rest on public water the P & W Dept may have to do it for us with either closed days during the week or no afternoon hunting (either every day or weekends or every other day or by areas like east/south or west/north of Intercoastal closed after 2 pm or ?).
I started duck hunting with a friend who had an airboat 30 years ago (at that time was one of a handful in Rockport) and he owned a pair of binoculars that we used when we scouted, he had learned to scout with them and was adamant about not running up on birds or pushing them up with the airboat or in one of the outboards we owned. It worked well for us and many of the "old time" hunters and I still scout this way to day, it appears many of the new "duck hunters" have not learned the benefits of using binocs, no matter what kind of boat they own. Can you imagine hunting deer by everyone on the lease/ranch disturbing them in the pastures with a vehicle of some kind every time went out into the field, how long would they stick around? It is not that just one guy does it, but when it is a steady stream of boat traffic in the marsh starting mid morning; the ducks are going to find someplace else. I have duck hunted then fished just outside the marsh till about 2-3 in the afternoon and noticed that about the time we leave here come the afternoon hunters so there can be days that there is constant traffic in the marsh.

If we do not learn how to manage our ducks on public water along the coast we will find ourselves in the same situation we do with our geese in that other states have short stopped them and we have a small percentage of the geese we used to get. The problem is only going get worse with the human population increase in Texas. I have already noticed that the "inland" freshwater hunting is better and more consistent then it used to be with the increased duck populations (drought conditions aside), so the real issue will be for the coastal public marshes. All the thoughts about "resting" a fresh water lake/pond apply to a coastal marsh as well, it is a large "pond".

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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby TexasHunter96 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:55 pm

I don't hunt the coast, but I agree with what you said: the birds need to rest. Birds simply won't stick around an area where they get shot at all day. I wouldn't be opposed to the shortening of LST on all public lands. I guarantee you that the WMAs that end hunting at noon provide a much better place for ducks to be.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby RShockley » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:32 pm

We end hunting at noon where I hunt in north Texas. We still have really good numbers here. Taking limits of gadwall and widgeon most days.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby :-) » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:33 pm

I'd agree with no hunting after noon. I also own an airboat, and use it to hunt...we aren't all bad. I say no matter the type of boat you should use it to get to & from your hunting location. There's plenty of time in the spring/summer to joy ride.

The GW's are working pretty hard to make that happen. This past weekend they were looking for a guy back in the lakes area pushing up ducks with an airboat. They didn't write any tickets, but there was a strong message sent out.

I'd also like to see the blinds taken down at the end of the season...I know people need to make a living, but 6-10 guides working such a small area is plum stupid. Those clients are getting the sh!t end of the stick, and will hopefully stop paying $150.00 a day each to get dropped of in an area that's over hunted.

With that said, it would be better for us to regulate this ourselves...the last thing we need are more laws. The question is...how can we do that?


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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby jjj56028 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:29 pm

Im glad to know that I'am not the only one. I've hunted the pacific flyaway in the tidal marshes of the Puget sound in Washington state for a few years while I was stationed there. And cut my teeth duck hunting when I was 12 in the lakes and prairie pot holes in Minnesota and North Dakota and had many seasons getting off the water with full straps. I don't ever remember being skunked this many times in one season since I've been hunting down here. And it really does seem like its only happening in the coastal area, I have a good friend in OK and they are getting limits of ducks and geese (more geese then ducks)every time they go out. I agree may be a good break in the shooting times or resting period would be in good order. I knew there would be a lot of hunters this season. But didn't think the duck dynasty hunters would impact it this much and I kind of thought they would fizzle out as soon as it got cold and as the season dragged on.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby TexasHunter96 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:24 pm

I drove around my area last week to scout for birds, but couldn't find any birds because people were hunting the afternoon/evening. They don't realize that the birds need some rest time or else they'll find a new place to hang out.
IMO, duck hunting is all about seeing the sunrise break the horizon as the day begins.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby Duck_Happy » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:33 pm

I know the wma around here are no hunts in the evening time but the argument would be "What about the people who work the late crap 12 - 8 am they would be out of an opportunity to hunt the evening time. I've only been on a couple evening hunts for ducks so it really wouldn't bother me.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby hawkeye55 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:09 pm

With the inter coastal channel as a boundary examples of regs could look like:

when hunting salt water or brackish water on waterways or marsh considered to be public access there will be no waterfowl hunting after 1 pm on the gulf side of the inter coastal channel from La. to the Mexico boarder on even days of the calendar and no hunting after 1 pm on the land side on odd calendar days. The only exception is that the last day of the first split and the last day of the season hunting is allowed after 1 pm until sunset regardless of location in the above noted areas.
It would not eliminate afternoon hunting totally but it would at least give the birds some rest in each bay system every day. And every other day in specific marshes.

or could tag specific days like no hunting gulf side on Fri, Sat, Tues and Wed and No hunting land side Sun, Mon, Wed and Thurs
this would actually give two afternoons in a row in some areas and one day everywhere.

It is a start to think about. Would love to see it done on a trial basis in 2014 in a few areas where it is in great need, like Aransas, San Patricio and Nueces ( and maybe Calhoun) counties for a trial.

Seems easy enough.
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby :-) » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:37 pm

hawkeye55 wrote:
Seems easy enough.


What's the next step? I'll back your proposal 100%, but I'd also like to see blinds removed after season is over, and they need to be spaced 300 yards apart.




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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby hawkeye55 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:10 pm

I agree no blinds left at end of season. I had to have prop work due to what may likely have been remains of an abandoned blind last week. ( After 33 years of running a boat it is the first time I have had prop damage so I feel somewhat blessed).

I'll one up you, blinds and decoys picked up daily on public water/marsh!!
No unattended blinds or decoys on public!

The rule should be you can not set up closer than 300 yards from someone who is there first.

Next step would be a campaign to write your state representatives and senators in Austin and Parks and Wildlife
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Re: Ducks in Corpus & baffin bay areas

Postby hawkeye55 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:29 pm

After taking time to check a map I would add Refugio county to the trial as it covers the back of Copano Bay.
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