By the Numbers
The northern shoveler might be the most loved & hated duck out there. With a face only a mother could love but a plumage that has driven many a hunter to put it up on the wall the spoony buzzes by spread at #5 on our list of the top ten ducks hunted in Texas based on reported harvest numbers. It may also be ranked #1 for most nicknames – Spoony, Spoonbill, Hollywood, Smiling Mallard, Bootlip, Grinner are commonly used terms of endearment for the shoveler. For the 2014-15 waterfowl season an estimated 85,570 bootlips were taken in Texas. Compare those numbers to 2013-14 and harvest numbers jumped by 11,080 ducks taken. For the 2013-2014 season there were 74,490 shovelers harvested in Texas. The smiling mallard grinned its way up from #6 in total ducks taken last season.
Opportunity to Hunt
Historical band recovery data provided by Bands Across America shows a limited amount of data on banded grinners since banding data has been kept. Only 22 have been reported in Texas over the last 30/40 years and we weren’t able to find much on the interwebs as they seem to breed in similar habitat as other frequently banded ducks. For the 2014-2015 & 2013-14 season no banded spoonies were reported. The TPWD daily bag limit allows for 6 shovelers per day as part of your total 6 bird limit although you may be ridiculed by your buddies for years after if you show up with that strap!
When you search for “northern shoveler recipe” most of what comes back are posts wondering if they are an edible duck. In our book the answer is a resounding YES and Delta Waterfowl agrees with this great recipe for spoony wraps. I’m sure they will make you smile! (see what we did here?) Grin.
All data provided by the 2015 Status of Waterfowl Report at Flyways.us