Texas Marsh Hunt

A water Hunt Down Houston Way

Photos by Dale Spartas.

It was minus five when I departed Montana and an overcast 40 degrees when I arrived in Houston, Texas. Bill Reed met me at the airport and we were soon scouting birds. We found three or four locations with good concentrations of ducks or snow geese.

At 4 a.m. we met in the kitchen, poured a coffee and grabbed a donut. We piled into the Suburban, and we were soon on the way to the blind. With us were two Labradors; one young and relatively inexperienced; the other, Winnie, a seasoned veteran. Both labs were steady and great markers. Winnie handled like a dream and took lines and one whistle casts perfectly.


We made our way to the blind in pitch-black darkness. As dawn slowly surfaced on the eastern horizon, wings whistled above the blind in the cold darkness. It was calm and we could hear the yelps and murmurs of stirring geese in the refuge. "Ok, boys, load up and don't forget that there is a one bird limit on pintails and it better be a drake," Will Beaty announced.



Moments later, six teal decoyed and three stayed. Daylight revealed a bluebird morning, but there were ducks and geese moving, and we shot decoying singles, pairs and small flocks of scaup, Ggreen-winged teal, and gadwall, not hot and heavy shooting, but enough action to keep things interesting. The highlight of the hunt came just as we were about to be picked up. A flock of about 30 passing pintails 100 yards high turned to our calls.

It was minus five when I departed Montana and an overcast 40 degrees when I arrived in Houston, Texas. Bill Reed met me at the airport and we were soon scouting birds. We found three or four locations with good concentrations of ducks or snow geese.


At 4 a.m. we met in the kitchen, poured a coffee and grabbed a donut. We piled into the Suburban, and we were soon on the way to the blind. With us were two Labradors; one young and relatively inexperienced; the other, Winnie, a seasoned veteran. Both labs were steady and great markers. Winnie handled like a dream and took lines and one whistle casts perfectly.


We made our way to the blind in pitch-black darkness. As dawn slowly surfaced on the eastern horizon, wings whistled above the blind in the cold darkness. It was calm and we could hear the yelps and murmurs of stirring geese in the refuge. "Ok, boys, load up and don't forget that there is a one bird limit on pintails and it better be a drake," Will Beaty announced.

Moments later, six teal decoyed and three stayed. Daylight revealed a bluebird morning, but there were ducks and geese moving, and we shot decoying singles, pairs and small flocks of scaup, Ggreen-winged teal, and gadwall, not hot and heavy shooting, but enough action to keep things interesting. The highlight of the hunt came just as we were about to be picked up. A flock of about 30 passing pintails 100 yards high turned to our calls.

They made two passes, dropping 30 yards with each swing. On the third pass, the birds (mostly drakes) were setting into the decoys. Will shouted, "Take 'em!" A lead drake folded and the flock skyrocketed up and away like brown and white fighter jets. I picked a drake, but it folded to another's shot, same thing happened again, but the third drake focused on was sandwiched between two hens and the shot was true and he folded neatly. That kind of flock is something I will never forget.

That afternoon we hunted Wilson's snipe in a pasture along the edge of a marsh. The hunting was superb and we flushed several dozen. We each shot a box of shells with Kevin killing his limit while I only scratched three or four of the little buggers. Snipe are fast erratic flyers and, in my opinion, the toughest shooting of North American upland birds. They are tough, demanding and worthy targets.

The next morning we hunted a flooded rice field for geese, killing a dozen, mostly snows, as well as mottled ducks, widgeon and gadwall. Best of all, by midmorning it was warm enough to take off our duck coats.

Editor's note: Contact Central Flyway Outfitters (CFO); www.hunttexas.com; (281) 255-4868.

Recommended for You

To date, Ducks Unlimited has played a role in conserving 14 million acres. Industry

Ducks Unlimited: A Duck Man's Best Friend

David Hart

To date, Ducks Unlimited has played a role in conserving 14 million acres.

Here's how to cash in on the spreading numbers of white-fronts. Hunting Tactics

Take Advantage of the Specklebelly Surge

John Gordon

Here's how to cash in on the spreading numbers of white-fronts.

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl. Stories

The Accidental Duck Dog

Jack Ballard

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

This video is a classic! Take a front row seat with Carson as he hunted back in college. The clips are all either filmed with a GoPro or cell phone!

Swedish Duck Hunt

Swedish Duck Hunt

Kevin Steele takes part in a family driven duck hunt in Sweden.

Arkansas Snow Geese

Arkansas Snow Geese

Wildfowl Editor Skip Knowles took this short video showing all the Snow Geese flying. Let's just say, he had a very good hunt!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads Ammo

11 Best New Shotshell Loads For Waterfowl

Wildfowl Online Staff - August 17, 2017

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the Bozeman, Montana company's full line-up of women's waterfowl hunting gear for 2019. From warm and moisture wicking base layers to water and windproof outer layers, this is a complete system for women who love to chase fall and wintertime ducks and geese across the four flyways! Clothing & Waders

New SITKA Women's Waterfowl Lineup for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the Bozeman, Montana company's full...

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call. Calls

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during...

See More Stories

More North America

Here's how to find duck hunting hot spots the easy way, with today's new high-tech mapping links North America

New High-tech Ways to Find Waterfowl Hot Spots

Bob Humphrey - January 20, 2017

Here's how to find duck hunting hot spots the easy way, with today's new high-tech mapping...

There are many fine places to hunt waterfowl throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few North America

8 Awesome Ducks Hunts You Can Do Right Now

Wildfowl Online Staff - October 25, 2017

There are many fine places to hunt waterfowl throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few

If you're a diehard waterfowler, Kaska Goose Lodge is the place for your next great adventure. North America

Experience It All at Manitoba's Kaska Goose Lodge

Online Staff

If you're a diehard waterfowler, Kaska Goose Lodge is the place for your next great adventure.

See More North America

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.