By the Numbers
The wigeon, aka baldplate drops into the spread at #6 on our list of the top ten ducks hunted in Texas based on reported harvest numbers. For the 2014-15 waterfowl season an estimated 75,310 wigeon were taken in Texas. Compare those numbers to 2013-14 and harvest numbers dropped big time by 11,347 ducks taken. For the 2013-2014 season there were 86,657 wigeon harvested in Texas. The wigeon dropped from #4 in total ducks taken last season.
Opportunity to Hunt
Historical band recovery data provided by Bands Across America shows a consistent concentration of baldplates taken across most of Central & East Texas, The primary banding locations for the wigeon are spread pretty evenly up the Central flyway and into Canada as well as Alaska. For the 2014-2015** season only 9 banded wigeon were reported in Texas compared to 18 banded birds reported for the 2013-14** season. The TPWD daily bag limit allows for 6 wigeon per day as part of your total 6 bird limit.
** This might be a mistake in the way I’m reading the data – I’ve asked for clarification regarding banding numbers and if they are calculated for season or calendar year. If its calendar year then Id expect quite a few more banded birds of all species to be recovered in 2015 once the season opens.
Wigeon are a good medium sized duck and make for good eating overall. There aren’t a ton of baldplate specific recipes (That we could find) but this recipe for sunrise supper (wigeon with wild mushrooms) looks like its worth a try for sure!
All data provided by the 2015 Status of Waterfowl Report at Flyways.us