TEAL TEMPTATION   3 comments

Blue Wing Teal 0004

Peering though the mists, the decoy spread presents a fuzzy picture.  Sets for teal, with Mallard and Pintail confidence decoys set out in small groups of 3 to 5; it is ready for those tough teal shots.  With defined fly and kill zones, some five or 6 dozen blue‑ and green‑winged dekes spread out to the maximum kill zone.  This is the view on opening day of teal season.

Teal will land near other birds, but will seek out open water in which to land.  By placing decoys strategically, a hunter is able to guide them into range.   If all he gets is “flybys”, then it is advisable to change the pattern of the decoys until it is more presentable to the birds.

High temperatures, mosquitoes and humidity tend to turn off most hunters at this time of year.  Other hunters are more interested in dove hunting.  You do not have to get up so early in the morning to hunt doves.  Uncrowded conditions for teal hunting are attractive to some waterfowl hunters.

Open areas allow the teal to fly in and not without the intimidation of other birds.  When decoys are well-placed teal will drop low and fast right onto the water.

Sometimes birds will land in the decoys before shooting hours.  Hunters peer through the mists looking for others to join them.  One does not shoot birds on the water.  It is unethical.  Such shots tend to destroy decoys.

Carefully concealed in his blind, a hunter can afford to wait for more light before doing any shooting. Blinds constructed of natural grasses and other vegetation completely conceal movement the hunter.

Teal calls emit a very high pitched, single reed sound like a mallard hen call.  Teal seem to work very quietly.  Therefore, one uses the call sparingly.  A few soft feeding chuckles and a few short hen quacks are plenty.  Most hunters should leave their calls at home.  Decoys are all one needs in a way of attractant.  Teal, like other ducks, are very social.

They are probably the “gabbiest” of ducks, carrying on with non‑stop, machine gun‑like quacking, peeping, twittering and whistling in the air, on land, and on the water.

Birds on the water will rise straight up in a tight group at what seems to be the speed of light.  The report of a gun only seems to encourage their departure.  Teal are not really a fast bird, it is just that they are so small and the ability to dart, juke, and twist is so well ingrained.

Teal are thin-skinned when it comes to cold weather and migrate earlier than other ducks.  They prefer the hot, muggy weather and mosquitoes to frost and ice.  Such conditions are not popular with hunters.

Teal are dabbling (puddle) ducks.  They frequent fresh water marshes and rivers and feed by dipping to tipping.  They will feed on the surface or only as far under water as they can reach without submerging.  Their diet consists of vegetable matter.  The menu consists of water hemp, nut grass, millet, smartweed, insects and mollusks.

A behavior of teal, that is unique among ducks, is its swift, darting, synchronized flight in flocks.  Flying low and erratically, the entire flock twists and turns as a single unit, like a flock of blackbirds.  Sometimes these groups will number several hundred individuals, compared to a maximum of 50 to 100 birds in flocks of other ducks.

Teal flying in tight groups often results in the knocking down of doubles.  They present a lot of pass shooting, much like wood ducks.  The hunter must be prepared to shoot quickly as well as accurately.  Teal seem to zoom in and look over the decoys and then either, drop down on the water or zoom off to some other area.  It is like dove hunting over water.

A 20‑gauge with a modified or improved cylinder is a good choice of weapon.  The shot should be #4 or #6 steel as pattern density is more important than pellet size.  The average size of a picked teal is about the same as a bar of soap. It does not take a lot of shocking power to down them.

In preparation for teal season, it is a good idea to go to a clay target range.  Ask them to throw some “midis” (90mm) and some “minis” (60mm) targets.  Learn to shoot fast, crossing targets.

Teal hunting hot spots are predictable from year to year, if the habitat does not change.  Pre-season scouting is a good idea.  Teal prefer small bodies of water such as ponds, slews and small lakes.  They prefer to feed in solitude.

Teal hunting is fun.  It is like dove hunting for the waterfowlers.  This year why not get out and try them?

 

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3 responses to “TEAL TEMPTATION

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  1. Pingback: TEAL TEMPTATION | Don Gasaway's Blog

  2. Pingback: Nature Report: Hunting Season Opens | WWW.MYWEBIN.NET

  3. Pingback: TEAL TEMPTATION - Average Hunter Online

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