Lake Livingston Duck Hunting
“Rita” Blessing in Disguise 

The Lake Livingston  Duck hunting season  first split  opens November 5th. 2005 and will run through November 27th.  The season will  reopen December 10th and close January 29th.  Pintail and Canvasback can  taken Dec. 22 through January 29th.  The eastern zone goose season is set to run November 5th  through January 29th for Snow geese , November 5th through January 15th for White-fronted geese and Nov. 5th through Jan. 29th for Canada geese.  The Snow goose “Conservation order will open Jan. 30th and close March 26th.  

The Trinity River Authority Duck hunting regulations for Lake Livingston have not changed.  The Trinity River Authority does not allow any hunting on TRA. Properties other than the hunting of waterfowl in accordance with state regulations.   

Many questions are being asked about this years  duck season on Lake Livingston.  Damage to the dam  by hurricane Rita caused T.R.A. to lower the lake level resulting in a major loss of duck attracting water.  Duck blinds have been left high and dry and  some are saying this years duck season is all dried up.  Several outdoor writers from around the state have contacted me in regards to the effect the lowering of the lake and the future of duck hunting and fishing here.  blessing in disguise for Lake  Livingston duck hunting and fishing. Always try to se the good in something bad.   Who would have believed that a hurricane would cause the lake to be lowered and set the stage  for the creation of thousands of acres of new habitat for ducks and fish.  The long term effects of the lake being lowered are going to be good.  Exactly how good and when know one knows but the fact is that there will be a new Lake Livingston created for the duck hunter and fisherman. 

T.R.A.  maintains Lake Livingston at or near a constant lake level of 131’ above mean sea level.  Their ability to maintain a constant lake level was enhanced by the addition of the Wallisville Reservoir project.  A constant lake level with little fluctuation up or down in water levels is not conducive to  creating habitat for ducks and fish.  In years past  a drop in lake level in the summer would create a vegetation bloom that would attract ducks.  In more recent past years with  a constant lake level at 131’ this has not been happening.  I well remember the year following the drought of 1995.  Lake Livingston had been at record lows when  rain showers that August created  thousands of acres of vegetation on the dried lake bed.  More rain came in November that year flooding the vegetation.  Ducks Unlimited could not have created the duck habitat that was produced by mother nature that year.  When the ducks came that fall and found all that food and water they would not leave.  That year was the best duck hunting  that I have experienced in my life anywhere.  Flooded vegetation stood six foot tall and more .  I recall taking a machete and whacking out a ˝  acre hole in the vegetation.  You could not keep the ducks out.  No blind was needed, just sit still in the overgrown stands of  green stuff  and ducks would bomb the hole. 

Honestly, I don’t think the general duck hunting community in this region recognized what was happening then and why it was happening.  Many hunters hung their waders up hearing rumors of dread. 

A blessing in disguise.  Hurricane Rita, I am already seeing acres of  greenery on the lake bed.  Don’t get me wrong , I am truly sorry for the hardship that the hurricane has caused many people.  The draw down of the lake will result in new habitat for ducks and fish.

Duck hunters pay close attention!  Lake Livingston duck hunting is going to get real good.  I don’t know when.  But I do know I want to be there when it happens. 

Dave Cox
Palmetto Guide Service

Tel. 936-291-9602


Dave Cox of Palmetto Guide Service is a regular contributor to the Lake Livingston edition of the Texas Sportsguide.  This article has previously appeared in that publication.

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