Early season teal

Early season teal hunting

By late August and mid September, over six million teal are predicted to migrate south this year with the early migrating blue-winged teal the first to drop their landing gear and cupping their wings over Oklahoma lakes. Mature drakes are the first to leave breeding grounds in Saskatchewan in late summer, followed by adult hens and juveniles.

Blue-winged teal fly faster and farther than any other duck species. Oklahoma lakes, sloughs and ponds are rest stops for the fast little birds as they wing their way to Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dave Cox www.palmettoguideservice.com, a seasoned waterfowl and fishing guide says the past several years have been a time of plenty for teal hunters. “Hunters straps have been heavy in recent years and indications are this will be another great year for the special September early teal season.”

Techniques for teal hunting are similar to regular season duck hunting, however a few adjustments could bring added success. Foremost is concealment. “By using a natural brush blind you are on your way to fast action on opening day,” says Cox. “While teal are not as wary as late season mallards or pintails, they have excellent eye sight and will flare from movement or shinning faces. Secondly, early season ducks are mostly dark in color. Therefore, I leave colorful mallard drake and pintail drake decoys at home, using only the darker hens. This will give your spread a more natural look. I use three dozen decoys or more, mixing in teal decoys with standard decoys. Add several motion decoys and leave an opening in your spread right in front of your blind with a couple of the little teal decoys in the middle for teasers. The teal should set down right in front of you.”

There are several good teal calls on the market that imitate the blue-winged short raspy quack. “A few short burst of raspy quacks when birds are bumping your spread should convince them to pull on in,” continues Cox. “I combine the short raspy quacks of the blue-winged teal with a peep, peep whistle sound of the green-winged teal. Be patient and bring the birds in close for select shots and clean kills.

“I expect that the early teal season hunting in Oklahoma will be another great one. Brush up your blinds, camo your faces and prepare for fast, fun teal hunting.


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