By the Numbers
The mallard, aka greenhead, surprisingly hits at #7 on our list of the top ten ducks hunted in Texas based on reported harvest numbers. Its the most popular duck taken nationally and in the Central Flyway as well with the majority taken in Kansas (114,417) & the Dakotas (361,905 combined). For the 2014-15 waterfowl season an estimated 73,761 greenheads were taken in Texas. Compare those numbers to 2013-14 and harvest numbers jumped a small degree by 5,479 ducks taken. For the 2013-2014 season there were 68,282 mallards harvested in Texas. Once again the mallard held steady at #7 in total ducks taken in Texas for the past two years.
Opportunity to Hunt
Historical band recovery data provided by Bands Across America shows a massive concentration of greenheads taken in East Texas and along the Eastern coastline of the state. There’s also a nice grouping of birds in the panhandle region but almost zero birds taken in the bottom Western part of the state. The primary banding locations for the majestic mallard are spread pretty evenly up the Central flyway and into Canada. For the 2014-2015** season 51 banded greenheads were reported in Texas compared to 161 banded birds reported for the 2013-14** season. 187 total banded mallards were reported in 2012-13. The TPWD daily bag limit allows for 5 mallards per day but only two may be hens.
** 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.
When most people think of a duck they think of a mallard. And when most people think of eating wild duck they start with the greenhead. There are countless recipes online that start something like “this dish is best made with a large mallard but other ducks will work too”. Its the standard by which all other ducks are measured in the blind, on the wall or at the table. We won’t even try to cover all of the different ways to prepare them but roasted, grilled and even duck yakitori!