Despite a low duck count in last week's annual aerial waterfowl survey, hunters across Louisiana's coastal zone enjoyed a pretty solid opening weekend.

From Lake Charles and Welsh to Houma, Hopedale and Venice, reports were very similar: whether you were hunting over rice fields, flooded pasture, marsh or in the delta, teal were thick and big ducks were a little scarce, but limits were definitely doable.

“It was pretty dang awesome,” said David Faul, with Bin There Hunting in Welsh. “It was very, very good. There are quite a few birds.

“We had 20 guys hunting both days and pretty much limited out each day. Coming off that horrible teal season, this was a blessing.”

In the marshes near Chauvin, Capt. Anthony Kyzar with Cajun Fishing and Hunting Charters in Houma said birds were plentiful.

“We’ve got gadwall, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal and lots of shovelers, plus some widgeon, pintail and we shot some mottled ducks,” he said. “We had limits on Saturday and Sunday. There were lots of birds flying.

“We knew it was going to be an excellent opener.”

In Venice, Capt. Damon McKnight with Super Strike Charters said teal are everywhere.

“Venice is loaded down with teal. We do have some big ducks, mostly grays and some pintail, but not many,” McKnight said. “But there’s so many teal that limits were being shot pretty quick by just about every group that went out. “

The good news is there is excellent habitat available near Venice when the big ducks do arrive, he said.

“I know the big ducks will be here because the food source is unbelievable. I imagine with this front coming down tomorrow night it will probably fill in the cracks with big ducks,” he said. 

Capt. Gene Dugas, with Rather Be Fishing and Hunting Adventures in Hopedale, said his sons enjoyed a solid opening weekend, taking mostly teal and grays. 

“We saw a lot of ducks last week when I was fishing,” Dugas said. “They were everywhere.” 

He said the birds were flying early, but hoped the tide would fall slightly.

“If the tide would fall a little bit they could get to feed easier and they’d stack up a little better,” he said. “But we have ducks.”

South of Lake Charles, Capt. Erik Rue with Calcasieu Charter Service said they also enjoyed a pretty good opening weekend hunting over rice fields and flooded pasture. 

“Teal was the bulk of the bag, mostly green wings,” he said. “But not as many geese as opposed to what we normally see.”

He reported seeing very few big ducks moving, but said white geese were beginning to show up.

“That’s typically a good sign,” Rue said. “I would expect our kill is going to increase on the geese for sure and we hope to maintain what we have on the ducks.”