What You Need to Know for your Texas Coastal Duck Hunting Experience:
Many duck hunters probably fell in love with duck hunting the very first moment they stepped into a blind. For many it was probably at a very young age. Call it silly if you will, but there’s just something special about being out in the cold, wet, salty marsh on a dark winter morning that thrills duck hunters. To this day, coastal waterfowl hunters still don’t think much can match the level of excitement felt each time a shooting opportunity arises. You can feel your heart pounding, and your pulse increasing. You can feel the blood rushing throughout your head and your body. Your focus narrows on the inbound target, and your stomach feels as though it’s suddenly filled with fluttering butterflies. Not everyone has had a chance to experience the rush of adrenaline that duck hunting can provide. Luckily it’s a very accessible sport with a low barrier to entry. To be honest, duck hunting isn’t that hard to grasp for anyone who has the desire to do so.
We hunt with a lot of different people each season. Some of whom are novice hunters trying duck hunting for their very first time. Most of these guests continue to hunt today, and we’ve attempted to stay in touch with a lot of them over the years. It may sound funny, but we’ve shared one common conversation with most of them over those years. Almost every one of them left their first hunt with the misconception that duck hunting is easy. And in some ways, they’re right. It’s easy from a learning perspective, but we can guarantee you won’t ever be at a loss for new things to notice and to realize.
Duck hunting is much more than simply sitting in a duck blind with a shotgun in your lap while waiting for the ducks to fly overhead. It combines a collection of preparations, equipment, and knowledge. Here are the basics.
Get your License
In preparing for the beginning of duck season along our coastal regions of Texas, you can contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPW&D) to find out the rules and regulations, legal hunting methods, and the bag and possession limits. Once you have this information, you can go to almost any sporting goods store to buy a Texas hunting license and the required accompanying stamp(s), or you can simply order online directly from Texas License Connection on the TP&WD website if you’d like.
While duck hunting, you’re going to be around a lot of water that’s more than likely going to be cold. Your next assignment needs to be to find the proper clothes for the challenge – chest waders, jacket, and gloves. When temperatures drop and winds increase, things can get rather cold in a very short period of time, especially out in a duck blind. Choosing the right clothes to protect you from the elements can mean the difference between being comfortable and miserable. Because you’ll be walking around in mud and marsh, you’re going to need to invest in a good pair of chest waders. A pair of neoprene waders will put you in one of the more popular materials used by wader manufacturers. Neoprene will keep you dry, and it will keep you warm. Some prefer, however, a pair of lighter, more breathable waders. These will allow you to stay dry while you regulate how much warmth you need. If it’s going to be really cold, put on a pair of fleece or silk pants before pulling on your waders.
Bring the Right Jacket
For additional protection from the wet and cold, it’s recommended that you buy a waterproof hunting jacket. This jacket should have an internal, removable liner for those times that you may be hunting on warmer days. Because you walk through a lot of water when hunting along the coast, you may prefer your jacket to be about the length of a wading jacket. The shorter jackets tend to be much more compact in size and they don’t get as wet when wading through water.
Don’t Forget The Gloves
Because of the water, you’ll also need to have some warm gloves on your hands, especially if you’re the one tossing the decoys prior to sunrise. If you get neoprene gloves, make sure they’re insulated. The neoprene alone won’t always keep your hands and your wrists from freezing once they get wet.
Until next time, start thinking of other things you might need for duck season. Part II coming soon!