Saturday is opening day of the 16-day early teal season. The 2019 season is shaping up to be a banner affair and East Texans should have some quick limits.
That is of course they have put in a little practice and knocked the rust off of their shotgunning skills.
Duck hunting in September may seem a little awkward to some but once tried, typically a wingshooter will be hooked. If the marsh or slough hunted has a few flocks visit, the action is nothing short of fast and furious. A small group of blue wing teal can resemble a swarm of bees and zeroing in on one can be a challenge in itself.
Their flight pattern is essentially “no pattern” The birds will constantly be wheeling and rolling in and around each other. When a dozen or so teal blow into the decoys it can be pure chaos. I have even heard older hunters say “the best plan is to simply fire your shotgun towards the flock, this will cause the entire flock to skyrocket, giving the hunters a chance to actually choose a bird or two and fire the remaining two rounds.”
I am not saying this is a good plan but after 8 or 10 clean misses, it may become an option.
There are three species of Teal in North America.
Blue Wings will make up the vast majority of birds present during the early season with a rare Cinnamon Teal sighting. Green Wings will typically show up during the regular duck season. The Blue wings migrate much earlier than other ducks and winter along the Texas coast all the way to Central and South America. At the present there are great reports of Blue Wings building in numbers from the panhandle all the way to the coast.
An added bonus for the Saturday opener is there will be a full moon Friday night. Waterfowl often fly at night and Teal are notorious for making night moves. This could provide a nice surprise Saturday morning for hunters if several large migrating flocks pull into their hunting area overnight.
Area reservoirs are lower because of the lack of rain and dramatic heat the past few weeks so shallow feeding areas will be prime. The lower water levels should also help hunters by concentrating birds to the best feeding areas. The limit is unchanged from last year at 6 birds daily, in any combination of Blue Wings, Green Wings or Cinnamon Teal.
Hours are also unchanged at 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Be sure to check these times as they vary depending on what part of the state you are in. Don’t forget the Early Canada Goose season runs concurrent with the early Teal season.
The Canadas have started to build in numbers all over East Texas with huntable populations on many reservoirs. Be sure to bring along a few goose rounds in case some Canadas decide to swing by your spread.
Good luck and be safe.