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#6932211 - 10/24/17 07:52 PM Panhandle Virgin
takemking Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 41
Looking to make my first trip up to the panhandle this season with hopes of bagging a mallard or two. Long story short is I'm a Louisiana native that moved to Houston a year and a half ago. I've never hunted north of I10. I've hunted from Galveston to Venice and everywhere in between. I've settled in here in Houston and found some amazing public opportunities. But one thing I just can't find consistently down here anymore is mallards. So I've decided to try my hand on the playas. In all honesty I'll be going into this blind having never hunted up there before. I'm not worried so much about finding birds as I am about being prepared to hunt the right way once I get there. Any advice you guys might have for me is greatly appreciated. First off I've never hunted water deeper than 2-3 feet. Do the playa lakes get much deeper than that? Should I be considering buying a layout blind and hunting waters edge or is it possible to hunt standing in waders if I bring adequate blind material? I've got a good dog so bird retrieval should not be an issue either way. I plan to take a week off of work and put in the time to scout, but are there any recommendations on what part of the season would be best? My thought was to wait until it's late January and cold. If there's anything I'm not considering that I should please let me know.

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#6932336 - 10/24/17 09:02 PM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
Sniper John Offline
gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16725
Loc: North Texas
If your hunting public land and wanting to drive that far leaving from Houston, I would make that drive straight up 35 to the middle of Kansas. Then with a WIHA book on the dash, turn left just about anywhere away from the highway and major towns. Then Start scouting big and small water across the western half of that state till you find your Mallards.

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#6932425 - 10/24/17 09:53 PM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: Sniper John]
john paul Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/19/09
Posts: 1191
Loc: beaumont
I'd go somewhere else besides the panhandle. Good luck in your search for mallards.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: garrett
I'm with GK because I like salty old dudes.

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#6932427 - 10/24/17 09:54 PM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: Sniper John]
john paul Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/19/09
Posts: 1191
Loc: beaumont
Originally Posted By: Sniper John
If your hunting public land and wanting to drive that far leaving from Houston, I would make that drive straight up 35 to the middle of Kansas. Then with a WIHA book on the dash, turn left just about anywhere away from the highway and major towns. Then Start scouting big and small water across the western half of that state till you find your Mallards.


Good advice here. Panhandle is about the same drive as central Kansas
_________________________
Originally Posted By: garrett
I'm with GK because I like salty old dudes.

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#6932529 - 10/25/17 12:27 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
Txduckman Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 12390
Loc: Big D
Do you have access to the playas or trying to freelance it?

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#6932608 - 10/25/17 06:28 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
takemking Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 41
There's more public opportunity to hunt playas in the panhandle than a lot of people think. I also plan to freelance some private land as well. Again I'm really just looking for advice on how most folks hunt the playas. Not how to knock limits of mallards out of the sky. 1-2 is fine. No offense to the guys that hunt Kansas but I'm a Texan now, and I'd like to take in duck hunting in that part of our state. I'd rather take the challenge of hunting in my home state over hunting in another any day.

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#6932694 - 10/25/17 07:39 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
woodduckhunter Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 04/25/11
Posts: 284
there was a pretty good post not long ago with some beneficial info to hunting the panhandle. don't remember what it was called, but it was geared more towards the actual hunting and gaining access. it can be challenging on the big playas at times, but if youre hunting solo you should be able to find some smaller pockets with smaller #s of ducks that will make your hunt easier.

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#6932733 - 10/25/17 08:00 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
ducknbass Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 8666
Not saying there ain't mallards in the panhandle, but if my target was mallards the panhandle sure would not be my destination. Plenty of better places to go kill mallards. Sounds like you are determined though. So have fun.

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#6932734 - 10/25/17 08:01 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
westtexaswatkins Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 7164
Loc: Anton, TX, and Stonewall Count...
Late rains in the Lubbock area should make for a great duck season if you can find access. I've seen more standing water in this area than I have in a long time. Northwest of Lubbock also has a ton of milo and corn fields since most of the cotton got hailed out. Should be awesome for geese and sandhills too. Best of luck to you.

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#6932782 - 10/25/17 08:23 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: ducknbass]
john paul Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/19/09
Posts: 1191
Loc: beaumont
Originally Posted By: ducknbass
Not saying there ain't mallards in the panhandle, but if my target was mallards the panhandle sure would not be my destination. Plenty of better places to go kill mallards. Sounds like you are determined though. So have fun.


X2. And to answer your questions, playas vary greatly in depth, you will most likely need a layout blind, and January could be a good time for mallards assuming everything isn't frozen which it usually it by then.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: garrett
I'm with GK because I like salty old dudes.

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#6932897 - 10/25/17 09:44 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
wal1809 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 11235
Loc: Texas
Your issues will be water. I have been up there and there was no water, so no birds. I have been up there when there was plenty of water, all frozen solid, so no birds. My brother and I hit a playa once and hit it on the magic button. Just us, no other duck hunters. We could hear literally 1000s of birds on the playa in the night. We got there early, set up and our miscalculation was grand. We had not checked the opening day of pheasant season. Right at daylight there was 20 trucks parked at the designated parking lot. We had three groups of pheasant hunters walk through our spread. One was kind enough to ask if we were doing any good duck hunting as he was maneuvering around the full body decoys. You want a mallard, go to Kansas and pay a reputable outfitter.
_________________________
www.snakebreaker.com

www.wanoscustomcalls.com

Ruffling Feathers Guide Service

UTHFDHGTG Port O'Conner, Texas Dec. 9 Hunt 10,11
lodging 361 983 4371




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#6932913 - 10/25/17 09:51 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
hook_n_line Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 01/20/12
Posts: 4771
rofl Haven't seen one in years. worthless
_________________________
Sometimes it's hard being me! But somebody has to do it.

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#6932963 - 10/25/17 10:09 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: hook_n_line]
john paul Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/19/09
Posts: 1191
Loc: beaumont
Originally Posted By: hook_n_line
rofl Haven't seen one in years. worthless


Lol
_________________________
Originally Posted By: garrett
I'm with GK because I like salty old dudes.

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#6933019 - 10/25/17 10:38 AM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: wal1809]
BOBO the Clown Offline
decoy

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 43049
Loc: Metroplex
Originally Posted By: wal1809
Your issues will be water. I have been up there and there was no water, so no birds. I have been up there when there was plenty of water, all frozen solid, so no birds. My brother and I hit a playa once and hit it on the magic button. Just us, no other duck hunters. We could hear literally 1000s of birds on the playa in the night. We got there early, set up and our miscalculation was grand. We had not checked the opening day of pheasant season. Right at daylight there was 20 trucks parked at the designated parking lot. We had three groups of pheasant hunters walk through our spread. One was kind enough to ask if we were doing any good duck hunting as he was maneuvering around the full body decoys. You want a mallard, go to Kansas and pay a reputable outfitter.


I have more water on my ranch then Iíve had in decades. I have corn and milo still standing waiting for moisture content to drop.

I have a WRP pasture that has been bone dry for 6-7 years. It beyond full. It was covered in Wigeon, mallards and teal three weeks ago when I was there. As in the thousands. Every playa and backwater pit was holding tons of birds. Lots of winter wheat was also under water holding birds also.

Birds are in the panhandle this year and will be there until it freezes up solid. Now access isnít even comparable to KS. Soley for that reason head to KS but if you have panhandle access, this is the year

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#6933403 - 10/25/17 02:32 PM Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking]
wal1809 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 11235
Loc: Texas
I have not paid much attention to the playa water levels. I have been just a bit occupied. I am glad you told me there was plenty of water. I was talking to my brother this morning about sneaking up for a few days.
_________________________
www.snakebreaker.com

www.wanoscustomcalls.com

Ruffling Feathers Guide Service

UTHFDHGTG Port O'Conner, Texas Dec. 9 Hunt 10,11
lodging 361 983 4371




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