Take Off

A flock of mallards on a plot of water fly off during the day at a hunting spot in Wharton County.  Unofficially Wharton County is the waterfowl hunting capital of Texas. 

 

Texas bird hunters can begin marking their calendars for the 2019-20 migratory game seasons, this year will feature minimal changes to the schedule.

The only change this year will be to duck season. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is reducing the pintail bag limit to just one per day.

Dove season in Wharton County was not as big as expected as hunters were met with harder times reaching limits.

“There honestly wasn’t really an excuse for it,” Wharton County Game Warden Chris Bird said. “We didn’t have any storms or anything major. I don’t know if it was a bad hatch last year or birds are somewhere else.”

With still a few months until the season kicks off, TDPW biologist Clint Faas soon will start banding doves in the field to try and get a read on the upcoming season. The recent weather has made it hard for Bird to extrapolate out and forecast the upcoming dove season.

“All the white-wing dove, they’re starting to make nests and try to have their first batch of hatchlings. I think they typically have two or three batches of hatchlings from now until the season, but with all the wind, it’s blowing their nests out of the trees right now.”

Teal season, which opens a few weeks after dove season, should continue to remain strong for Wharton County hunters.

“Typically teal season is what everyone looks forward to because it’s pretty intense,” Bird said. “From what I know, everything looks good outlook wise for teal this year. I haven’t seen the numbers for the big ducks, but everything looks to be pretty good.”

Bird Season Dates

Following is the season calendar for 2019-20: Dove

North Zone: Sept. 1 to Nov. 12 and Dec. 20 to Jan. 5

Central Zone: Sept. 1 to Nov. 3 and Dec. 20 to Jan. 14

Special White-winged Dove Days (entire South Zone): Sept. 1, 2, 7, 8

South Zone: Sept. 14 to Nov. 3 and Dec. 20 to Jan. 23

The daily bag limit for doves statewide is 15 and the possession limit 45.

During the early two weekends in the Special White-winged Dove Days, hunting is allowed only from noon to sunset and the daily bag limit is 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. During the general season in the special area, the aggregate bag limit is 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

Ducks/Geese

Early Seasons

Statewide Teal — Sept. 14 to 29 with a daily bag limit of six teal

East Zone Canada Goose Only – Sept. 14 to 29 with a daily bag limit of five Canada geese

Regular Duck

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Oct. 26 - 27 and Nov. 1 to Jan. 26

North Zone: Nov. 9 to Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 to Jan. 26

South Zone: Nov. 2 to Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 to Jan. 26

Bag Limit: Six a day in the aggregate to include no more than five mallards, of which only two may be hens, three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two canvasback, one pintail, one “dusky duck” (mottled, black or Mexican- like) may only be taken after the first five days of the season in the respective zones. Mergansers: five a day with no more than two hooded mergansers. Coots: Fifteen a day. The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit for all migratory game birds except snow geese which have no possession limit.

Regular Goose

East Zone: Nov. 2 to Jan. 26; conservation order Jan. 27 to March 15

Bag Limit after the Early Canada Goose: five dark geese, to include no more than two white-fronted geese, 20

light geese (no possession limit on light geese).

West Zone: Nov. 2 to Feb. 2; conservation order Feb. 3 to March 15

Bag Limit: five dark geese, to include no more than two white-fronted geese, 20 light geese (no possession limit on light geese).

Sandhill Crane

Zone A: Oct. 26 to Jan. 26. Bag Limit: three, possession limit nine.

Zone B: Nov. 22 to Jan. 26. Bag Limit: three, possession limit nine.

Zone C: Dec. 14 to Jan. 19. Bag Limit: three, possession limit six.

Snipe

Oct. 26 to Feb. 9. Bag Limit: eight, possession limit of 24

Woodcock

Dec. 18 to Jan. 31. Bag Limit: three, possession limit nine.

Falconry

Statewide Dove: Nov. 16 to Dec. 2

Statewide Rails, Gallinules, and Woodcock: Jan. 27 to Feb. 9

Ducks North and South Zone: Jan. 27 to Feb. 9.

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