Duck Hunt Rotation


The following is a rotation list for self-guided duck hunts on central Texas lakes, predominantly within 90 miles of Austin.  We will hunt either Lakes Granger, Stillhouse Hollow, Belton, or Somerville in their Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).  If none of the above lakes are producing ducks we might hunt ducks further away.

I, Randy Rowley, can take up to three adult hunters (four counting me).  We’ll hunt from my 2019 20′ 3″ camo Excel Bay Pro 203 with a 115 HP Yahama motor, which has a camo blind (see below).

All four lakes are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CoE).  We will hunt until 8:30 – 10:30 AM, depending on how the ducks are flying and the weather conditions (ducks often fly longer when it is overcast).

Granger does not require a CoE lake hunting permit.  However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) leases Granger’s WMA’s; consequently, a TPWD Public Hunting Permit is required.  The cost is $48/year.  If we decide to hunt Granger we will hunt in the San Gabriel, Willis Creek, or Sore Finger WMAs.  Granger is 41 miles from my house.

Stillhouse and Belton do not require a TPWD Public Hunting Permit nor a CoE lake hunting permit (see If we decide to hunt Stillhouse we will hunt in the Union Grove WMA on the island (the side depends on the direction of the wind).  Stillhouse is 11 miles further from my house than Granger, so we’ll have to leave 15 minutes earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.  If we decide to hunt Belton, we will hunt either the Owl Creek or the Iron Bridge WMAs.  Belton is 36 miles further than Granger, so we’ll have to leave 45 minutes earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.

Somerville does not require a CoE lake hunting permit.  Nor does it require a TPWD Public Hunting Permit in the CoE day hunt area (you will need one if we hunt in the TPWD day hunt area; we also must hunt from the boat at least 200 yards from shore if we hunt in that area).  Somerville is 54 miles further than Granger, so we’ll have to leave an hour earlier than we would if we were going to hunt Granger.

We also might hunt a pond east of Austin.  If so, there is a $20/hunter charge and we won’t be using my boat.  We’ll walk a short distance and hunt behind a blind or camo netting or use natural cover.

How the Rotation WorksHunters who want to participate must sign, if they have not already, a lifetime FCS Liability WaiverYou do not have to be an FCS member to be added to this rotation; however, the Event Hierarchy (pecking order) applies.  Whenever I’m about to lead a self-guided duck hunting trip I’ll send an email to the people on the rotation.  I’ll say something like, “On Saturday, XX/XX/XX, I’ll lead a self-guided duck hunting trip on Lake Belton (for example).  Let me know if you’re interested in going before XX/XX/XX.  In addition to the rotation, the Event Hierarchy (pecking order) applies to events where we have a limit on the number of people that we can take.”

The following people are on the Duck Hunting Rotation list for the 20XX season (this is fictional):

  1. Tim
  2. Ron
  3. Bob
  4. Roy
  5. Jim
  6. Joe

So, let’s say that Tim, Ron, Roy, and Joe all want to go on the Belton trip.  As my boat can only bear the weight of four hunters (counting myself) and it only have spots for four hunters to shoot, I’ll only take three of them.  In this case, Tim, Ron, and Roy would get to go, as they are above Joe in the rotation.  After a hunter goes on one of my self-guided duck hunting trips I move him or her to the bottom of the rotation.  So, after the Belton trip, the rotation would be revised to the below.

Whenever a hunter asks to join the rotation I start him or her at the bottom of the list.  I want to stress that if someone who is on the rotation says no, or doesn’t respond, to an offer to go on a trip he or she will never drop in the rotation.  Nor can anyone leapfrog him or her in the rotation.  The only exception to the rotation is the boat captain/host always gets to go.  Just as rotating ensures that everyone on a volleyball team has an opportunity to serve and play by the net, rotating the event lists in this manner ensures that everyone eventually will be near the top of the list.

  1. Bob
  2. Jim
  3. Joe
  4. Tim
  5. Ron
  6. Roy


  • We’ll split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas).
  • There is also often a per person park entrance fee (usually $5 each) or a boat launch fee that we will split (no more than $5 each).
  • If we hunt the pond east of Austin, there is a $20/hunter charge.
  • We’ll also stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and will probably stop for brunch on the way home.

What to Bring:

  • Hunting license, state migratory bird stamp, federal duck stamp, and possibly the public hunting permit (if we’re hunting Granger or the TPWD section of Somerville).  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird stamp, but does not include a federal duck stamp, so you’ll have to also buy it.
  • Shotgun
  • Shotgun case (a floating case is recommended)
  • Shotgun shells (Winchester Xpert shells or equivalent in 2 shot (the 1550 FPS variant), chambered for 3 inch (if your gun is also chambered for 3 inch); I do not recommend anything smaller than 4 shot.  10 gauges and 3 1/2 inch shells in 3 1/2 inch chambered 12 gauges are overkill for ducks, in my opinion; steel shot (if of adequate size) will kill ducks – there is no need for Hevi-shot, Tungsten, Bismuth, etc. (you’ll pay a lot more for those shells and they aren’t needed))
  • Shotgun shells bag or vest (a floating blind bag is recommended)
  • Headlamp or cap light
  • Camo outer hunting clothes (including a face mask or face paint – absolutely essential)
  • Waders (absolutely essential); breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts, neoprene waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on a November hunt you’ll probably cook yourself)
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; there are storage compartments in my boat)
  • A small ice chest to take your ducks home in (if you get any)

You will not need a bucket, stool, or a chair, unless we hunt the pond to the east of Austin, as my boat has chairs and benches.

I have some extra items, such as waders, floating gun cases, headlamps, cap lights, a bucket, a stool, etc.  If you need to borrow an item(s) let me know before we leave.

I usually start out with an improved cylinder choke.  If the ducks aren’t coming into the dekes and the shots are passing shots, I’ll switch to a modified.

I have 89 decoys (23 redheads, 14 gadwall, 13 teal, 12 pintails, nine mallards, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, a widgeon, a pulsator duck, two quiver ducks, a motorized duck, and a wind duck (that I only use when it’s windy enough to spin the wings and when it’s too windy to use the motorized duck).  In addition, FCS has 33 decoys (25 teal and 8 wood ducks) in its inventory.  Combining my decoys and the FCS decoys I have 122 decoys.  However, I’ll only bring decoys for the types of ducks found on the lake that we’re going to.  For example, I’ve never seen canvasbacks or buffleheads on Somerville or Granger, so those will stay in my garage when we go there.

I’ll also hunt at least one local lake and possibly the Colorado River (if it’s high enough for my boat).  If the lakes are as bad as last year we’ll concentrate on the Colorado River or the pond Southeast of Austin.  Tentative dates are as follows:
  • Saturday, 11/9/19
  • Monday, 11/11/19
  • Saturday, 11/30/19
  • Saturday, 12/28/19
  • Saturday, 1/18/20
  • Saturday, 1/25/20

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not a FCS membership benefit.  This rotation is a service to FCS members and guests, but I will not tolerate the below actions.  I can and will remove a person from the rotation for any of the following reasons (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Not hunting in a safe manner, including deliberately not following my instructions and the FCS Safety and Shooting rules, Hunting and Fishing Rules, and Game Law Clarifications during a hunt.
  • Not paying for your share of the gas or fixing items (that are not yours) that you broke (including decoys that you shot and sank).
  • Not helping during a hunt (including not helping get the boat back on the trailer).
  • Not talking quietly, especially when ducks are coming in to the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away).
  • Not controlling your dog during a hunt (a dog that wants to go play with the decoys or charge the ducks as they are coming in will ruin the hunt).
  • Indicating that you will attend a hunt and then not showing up.
  • A pattern of being more than a few minutes late.
  • A pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Not returning my phone calls and/or emails.

The following people are on the Duck Hunt Rotation for the 2019/2020 season:

  1. Wayne Weilnau
  2. Ian Daniels
  3. Ryan Rowley
  4. Steve Ritter
  5. Zack Tumlinson
  6. Ragan Brock
  7. Mike Walsh
  8. Earl Prochnick
  9. Chris Rowley
  10. Ken Miller
  11. Burl Fulenwider
  12. Chris Campbell
  13. Blake Brosig
  14. Seth Parkey
  15. Brad Holbrook

The following people are on the permanent Duck Hunt Rotation:

  1. Roy Brigman
  2. Tim Price
  3. Kevin Wall
  4. Bill Bebee
  5. Jerry Stafford
  6. Thomas Palmer
  7. Jim Gault
  8. Robby Wilson
  9. Will Peterson
  10. Justin Painter
  11. Ron and Nathan Petru
  12. Ron Palmer
  13. Bruce Crockett
  14. Bill Smith
  15. Ron Denison
  16. Wayne Weilnau
  17. Jeff Cates
  18. Kyle Wickham
  19. Brian Suter
  20. Steve Bird
  21. David Lesser and son
  22. Mike Thibodeaux and sons
  23. Jonathan Sherwin
  24. Kelvin Cheung
  25. Robert Butts
  26. Sam Martin
  27. Ian Daniels
  28. Chrispy Harden
  29. Garrett Eklund
  30. Colin Jackson
  31. Jake Dumaine
  32. Binh Chu
  33. Ryan Rowley
  34. Steve Ritter
  35. Zack Tumlinson
  36. Ragan Brock
  37. Clayton Carrier
  38. Jonathan Fleming
  39. Mike Walsh
  40. David Pruitt
  41. Warren Moorman
  42. Jim McGee
  43. Earl Prochnick
  44. Raul Pena
  45. Chris Rowley
  46. Ken Miller
  47. Burl Fulenwider
  48. Jeff Morris
  49. Chris Campbell
  50. Blake Brosig
  51. Seth Parkey
  52. Brad Holbrook

Let me know at (my preference) or 512-922-2484 if you would like to be added to this rotation.  Also let me know if you have any questions.

Categories : Duck Rotation

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