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Panhandle Virgin #6932211 10/25/17 12:52 AM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932336 10/25/17 02:02 AM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: Sniper John] #6932425 10/25/17 02:53 AM
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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.
Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: Sniper John] #6932427 10/25/17 02:54 AM
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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.
Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932529 10/25/17 05:27 AM
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Do you have access to the playas or trying to freelance it?

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932608 10/25/17 11:28 AM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932694 10/25/17 12:39 PM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932733 10/25/17 01:00 PM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932734 10/25/17 01:01 PM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: ducknbass] #6932782 10/25/17 01:23 PM
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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.
Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932897 10/25/17 02:44 PM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6932913 10/25/17 02:51 PM
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rofl Haven't seen one in years. worthless


Sometimes it's hard being me! But somebody has to do it.
Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: hook_n_line] #6932963 10/25/17 03:09 PM
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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.
Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: wal1809] #6933019 10/25/17 03:38 PM
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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


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6933403 10/25/17 07:32 PM
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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.

Re: Panhandle Virgin [Re: takemking] #6933712 10/25/17 11:04 PM
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Appreciate the feedback all. Glad to hear there's water up there. Sounds like I should give it a go before it freezes up! By the way, if any of you folks want to make a public hunt down here on the coast let me know. Our prospects are looking really good this year as well!

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