Drought Effects East Texas Hunting Seasons - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/6/06-Longview

Drought Effects East Texas Hunting Seasons

      Wildlife officials say the drought will have a dramatic impact on upcoming hunting seasons.   Ponds in Gregg County that used to be home to hundreds of ducks and water fowl, now only support a few, and some have dried completely.

    "This year is going to be extremely tough for duck hunters in East Texas, a lot of them hunt in swamps, a lot of our bottom land swamps are dry" said Gregg county ag extension agent Dennis Smith.

     Dove season just opened, and some say the hunting is bleak.

    "It's few and far between , we haven't seen may at all, it's few and far between" said dove hunter Jeff Mercer.

    "You run into that in any game or any wildlife that you hunt , slow seasons on it you just have to learn to hunt something else" said Longview Hunter Richard Reeves.

      Migratory waterfowl depend on normal lake levels in East Texas to support the vegetation they eat.  Game wardens say if the drought continues the ducks will simply by-pass East Texas and look for water in the south , leaving duck hunters here out of luck. The drought may affect deer hunting season in a totally different way.

    We're told the usually elusive "white-tails" will becoming more visible in search of food and water. Game officials told us today they believe the deer will be easy targets. Which is good because a good hunting season is needed to head off possible winter starvation".

    "If we don't harvest enough animals each year, the deer over populate , they have health issues , they can deplete their food source" says Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Charlie Muller.

      Parks and Wildlife says, because of the drought. They believe the birthrate among deer will be "down" next spring.  Deer season begins November 4th.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting bhallmark@kltv.com.

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