Duck hunters in Texas will have to keep an eye peeled for dusky ducks and fingers off the trigger during the first five days of the season again this year, as concern about the mottled duck populations have forced a delay in harvest. A dusky duck is defined as a mottled duck, Mexican-like duck, black duck and their hybrids.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding Texas and Louisiana to a harvest reduction of West Gulf Coast Population of mottled ducks, citing a need for additional conservation based on estimated population declines resulting from major storms in recent years and continued habitat loss.
Due to similarities in appearance, all dusky ducks will be off limits during the first five days of the season with a daily bag limit of one starting Nov. 10 in the South duck zone and Nov. 17 in the North duck zone. In the High Plains Mallard Management Unit, dusky ducks may not be taken until Nov. 7.
Speaking of “dusky” ducks, here is some interesting information on the mottled duck.
An article in Southeastern Naturalist reported on a study by Ruth M. Elsey, Phillip L. Trosclair III and Jeb T. Linscombe on the predation of mottled ducks on alligators.
“Although the alligator has been noted to prey upon mottled ducks, evidence of Mottled Duck consumption is rare in numerous studies of alligator food habits. This may be due to the season and habitat from which alligators were collected for evaluation (often autumn samples from deep water habitats preferred by adult alligators). We examined stomach contents of alligators in summer (when Mottled Duck broods and molting adults are flightless) from shallow water habitats preferred by Mottled Ducks. Mottled Duck remains were found in 20.9 percent of 43 alligator stomachs examined, far more than the highest frequency occurrence previously reported (1.27 percent). Unexpectedly, three relatively small alligators (1.51–1.70 m total length) consumed Mottled Ducks and the sixteen largest alligators did not. This study underscores the importance of season and location of collections when evaluating stomach content data.”