By the Numbers
The northern pintail, aka sprig, continues our list of the top ten ducks hunted in Texas based on reported harvest numbers. For the 2014-15 waterfowl season an estimated 54,595 sprigs were taken in Texas. Compare those numbers to 2013-14 and overall harvest numbers dropped by 9,779 ducks taken. For the 2013-2014 season there were 64,374 pintails harvested in Texas. Even with a drop of almost 10k ducks taken the pintail came in at #8 for both the 14-15 & 13-14 seasons.
Opportunity to Hunt
Historical band recovery data provided by Bands Across America shows a large distribution of sprigs taken across the state with the largest concentration along the coast as expected. The primary banding locations are in the Dakotas and Canada. Only 43 banded pintails were reported in Texas during the 2014-15 season compared to 180 banded birds reported for the 2013-14 season. 200 total banded sprigs were reported in 2012-13. The TPWD daily bag limit allows for two pintails taken per day.
Pintails are rated as one of the best eating ducks and one of the favorites to put on your wall. Its a tough decision if you’ve taken a bull sprig in full plumage. A quick Google search will bring back countless recipes that recommend mallard or pintail as the top choices including slow roasting, one of my favorites.