Outdoors

February has long been a difficult time for folks in the outdoors media. The major hunting seasons are nearly all history except the conservation goose season. There are always the exotics to go after. The fish don’t really care about the weather, but the fishermen do. There are, of course, some dedicated anglers that head out no matter what the weather happens to be, except for summer hurricanes. Even then there are those folks that will risk life and limb to catch a bull redfish in the surf.

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Being a Texas game warden is not always a walk in the park. But on the other hand, it can be downright comical on some days. The following situations are just of a few of the highlights from a day in the life of Texas game wardens.

Pineywoods hog hunters get locked out

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As the extended conservation snow goose season continues, there are only scattered reports from the fields. There seems to be some big numbers of the snows, blues, and Ross geese that are staying south of the Intracoastal Canal. There are times, depending on the weather, when some of those birds will move back north of the canal; whenever this happens, then the folks that enjoy the late season will enjoy some really great shoots. Many of the waterfowl outfitters have told me that under the circumstances, they are scheduling hunts for standby.

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It’s no secret that wild hogs are trying to take over Texas, and if you happen to be looking for a little hunting adventure on the wild side, try hog hunting at night – with a bow.

If that sounds a little crazy, you’re right on the money. The good news is that the hunting is done from elevated tree and tripod stands that offer you a little protection for close range encounters with wild pigs in the attack mode.

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I often hear folks discussing whether our local weather conditions are normal or not. Is it colder than normal or perhaps warmer than normal seems to the never answered questions in the barber shop. Yes, there are still some of those around. What’s unique about our area is that we rarely have extended periods of either cold or warm temperatures. That situation allows the folks that enjoy the outdoors to do so practically all year long.

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Sunday at sunset, Robert Mason, Denny Copeland and I were putting limits of mallards and pintails on duck straps. It was to be our last duck hunt of the 2011-12 season and one that a whole lot of us won’t soon forget.

This should give you an idea of how good the season was. Four of my duck hunting buddies in Central Texas bagged just over 800 ducks, which according to their data, is an all-time record for them. They hunt a lot, but what’s most interesting is that they only hunt on public lakes and rivers.

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Buddy Smith had a pair of his favorite quail hunting dogs on the ground and Jimmie Buffett, his go-to pointer, was locked up on a covey in a brush pile next to a huge oak tree. Smith motioned for his yellow lab, Wes, to move in and flush the birds.

Mike Ramsey, his son Michael and I were on point when five bobwhite quail flushed. The birds were surprisingly fast, considering they were pen raised. But only two hit the ground.

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Speckled belly or white front goose season is closed and has been since the 15th. Both duck and the regular goose seasons will end on Sunday, Jan. 29. After that, the so-called Conservation Order allows snow, blue, and Ross geese to be taken Jan. 30 through March 25.

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Searching for the perfect saltwater fishing boat can be downright confusing. The top two questions center on two problems. First, do you want to have a boat with shallow running capabilities? Second, are you in the market for a boat that will fish two to four fishermen comfortably on the open bays, in the surf and at the jetties?

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The South Texas whitetail deer season will close on Jan. 15. There are 30 Texas counties that are affected by the season closing. After that, the spike and antlerless season will continue in 209 North Texas counties. The antlerless and spike season will be from Jan. 16 through 29 in 30 South Texas counties.

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