Scouting Areas!: By Jordan Grimes
We only have a few days until Teal season here in the Lone Star State, and one thing we knew we needed to do was lay eyes on potential spots to hunt. When you hunt on public land, or any land you have never hunted before, you always want to lay eyes on it. This goes for most hunting. You don't want to try to make a strategy on the fly at 3 or 4 in the morning when its dark and the only light is your head lamp. Even if you have a clue what you are doing, and especially if you don't know what you are doing, you need a plan! Things look better and give you more confidence in the days you are not hunting. You also want several spots planned out just in case there are others already there, as public land is first come first served. We tried to hit four to five access points and find as many spots in those areas as we could, and make plans for all of them.
The first thing we looked at in the spot is simple; does it have good cover, or places you could make cover and it look natural. By this, I mean can you hide here in the spot where you can still have shot opportunity. The other thing that is imperative to look for is are there natural things that will bring the ducks in, like food? Lots of ducks are dabbling ducks that feed on roots, seeds and plants. Learning the habits, food source and ticks of what you hunt will help you put yourself in the right location to better the chance of putting the best food on your families plate!!
Once you think you've found the place that your prey will naturally come to, it's time for the fun talk about the decoys. Since we where scouting duck spots, that's more what I will talk about. We wore our waders and tested the bottom of the ponds and lake to see where we could physically put decoys. These things can change with weather, but you still get a good idea by knowing your spots and keeping an eye on the weather. After you have a good idea of the pond or lake bed, start figuring out what kind of spread will bring ducks closer to you and give you the best shot opportunity.
These where just some of the things we did hanging out hiking around and just being in the great outdoors. This stuff will up your hunting game and give you another chance to get out there and have a great time.
To wrap this up, I'd like to speak on something that chaps my ass...litter! Most of the litter found comes from folks being lazy! Some stuff just happens. The wind blows a wrapper away and you can't get it, or you think you picked up all your shells when you didn't. I get it. It happens. However, when I was out on the public land, I saw laziness. There were empty shell boxes and spent shells ALL over the place, and bottle after bottle that were important enough for someone to carry in, but somehow not out. One thing you should always carry in with you is a trash bag so you can take your trash back out. If you also try to pick up a little of the other stuff you see, we can keep these awesome lands great for everybody to enjoy, and hopefully more people allowing public hunting on their private land!! Private land owners don't want to allow public hunting on their holdings if it's covered in garbage in return. It helps keep our game animals healthy as well.