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Cast and Blast: A Texas Tradition

With the fall weather within sight, the Texas outdoor enthusiast is now busy preparing for winter activities. For many Texans, this includes waterfowl hunting and fishing. This article will focus on waterfowl hunting, and highlight a few hunting and fishing trips The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch will offer this winter. 

By Shane Reynolds

Of all the fowl that can be hunted, ducks are the most popular. Some of my most vivid memories that I have as a child are going on duck hunts with my father and his friends. Duck hunting starts extremely early in the morning, and there is much work to do prior to sunrise, or what duck hunters refer to as LST (legal shooting time), which is actually a half hour before sunrise. Prior scouting of your chosen duck hunting location is must. You must be familiar with the area, have access to your blind, and know the terrain and underwater features with your chosen location. 

Duck hunting is not about the thrill of the kill. It’s about marksmanship. It’s about precision. And most importantly, it’s about class. Waterfowl should never be shot on the water, but rather while in flight. Attracting ducks that are in flight to come within firing range is accomplished through the use of decoys and calling. Decoys are manmade ducks, teal and geese, usually made of plastic, wood or some type of synthetic rubber. The larger the spread of decoys, the more attractive your spread will look to groups of ducks passing by. Ducks have excellent vision! Another important aspect of duck hunting is a blind. Blinds are vital for the sport. Ducks are very wary of traps. Blinds help cover you as you sit or lie in wait as they approach. Blinds are made of branches, stems and leaves over a tent-like structure where you could comfortably stay while waiting for a flock to come within sight.

Another way of attracting the attention of ducks is by calling. This is done by mastering the blowing of a duck call. It is advised, however, that if you have not mastered this art, you should not dare try it. You might end up scaring the ducks away instead of inviting them towards where you sit or lie in wait.

Duck hunting is a very addictive sport. It combines manual dexterity, physical agility and a sharp mind. Because of these requisites, some people have come to label it as the ultimate test of the human will. Indeed, all the faculties of our bodies will be exercised and our minds will get a much-needed practice as well. Duck hunting is also a relaxing and invigorating pastime. Do give it a try, and chances are, you won’t regret the experience. 

Why cast and blast? Again, I look back to the youth adventures with my father, grandfathers and the countless friends they ran with. After a long morning of duck hunting, we usually headed in for a second breakfast or early lunch, before heading out to fish for the middle part of the day. We needed something to do to kill time before heading out to the duck blinds in the afternoon. We usually found ourselves chasing largemouth bass or crappie if hunting on lakes or rivers, or going after Speckled Trout if we were hunting the coast. The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch will offer a few trips this winter that feature duck hunts in the morning and fishing in the afternoon. We’ll be visiting Captain Aubrey Black and Captain Sally Black in Baffin Bay. Aubrey specializes in lure fishing for trophy-sized Speckled Trout in Baffin Bay, while his wife Sally specializes in fly casting for redfish and specs. They both guide duck hunts in the winter and have trained dogs to help find your downed birds. We will visit the Eagle Lake area for some outstanding waterfowl and sandhill crane hunting, and we’ll also hunt some stock ponds north near Santo where we’ll hunt duck in the morning and fish for bass in the afternoon.

This hunting season is sure to offer some memorable experiences! 

Shane Reynolds is the Outdoor Recreation Director at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at outfitter@cordilleraranch.com.