Archive for the ‘Teal Hunting’ Tag

TEAL HUNTING REQUIRES PREPARATION   Leave a comment

 

Decoy spreads for teal with blues and green-winged decoys are set out in small groups of three to five.  Set them in a well-defined fly and kill zone with some 5 dozen of the groups spread out to maximum the kill zone.

An open area allows the teal to fly in and still does not intimidate them.  When the decoys are properly in place the teal will drop low and fast right onto the water.

A teal call emits a very high pitched, single reed sound like a mallard hen call.  Teal seem to work very quietly. Uses a few soft feeding chuckles and a few short hen quacks.  Then he let the call drop on the lanyard around your neck and prepare for shooting action.

The birds on the water rise straight up in a tight group and out of range at what seems the speed of light.  The report of a gun only seems to encourage their departure.

Early teal season does not attract a lot of hunters.  The birds are apparently very susceptible to cold weather causing them to migrate early.  They seem to prefer hot, muggy weather and mosquitoes over frost and ice.

Teal are dabbling ducks.  They frequent fresh water marshes and rivers and feed by dipping or tipping.  They will feed on the surface or only as far underwater as they can reach without submerging.  Their diet consists of vegetable matter.

Here their menu consists of water hemp, nut grass, millet, smart weed, insects and mollusks.

Although hunters may use a teal call, most hunters should leave their calls at home.  Decoys are all one needs in a way of attractant.  Teal, like other ducks, are social idiots.  They want to be with other ducks.

Most teal hunters use to much gun.  A 20‑gauge with a modified or improved cylinder works well.  The shot should be #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.  They are the kind that if you think about the shot, they will be gone.

If you do not have a trap range make one using a hand thrower. The Super Sport Hand Thrower from Champion Traps & Targets in Wisconsin (www.championtargtet.com) is a very serviceable alternative to the more cumbersome mechanical machines.  They are inexpensive, portable and easy to use.  The adjustable hand thrower is adjustable to throw standard, midi and mini clay targets.

Preseason scouting is a good idea a few days before hunting.  Teal hunting hot spots are fairly predictable from year to year if the habitat does not change.

Teal hunting is fun and they are good on the table.  This year why not get out and give them a try?

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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?

 

HUNTING THE SMALL DUCKS   2 comments

Teal 0005

Hot, humid weather and biting insects of late summer and early fall tend to deter most waterfowlers from pursuing early season small ducks.  They can provide a fast introduction to waterfowl season and a great deal of fun.  Most of them tend to be rather thin-skinned when it comes to cold weather.  As soon as cooler temperatures appear on the scene, they head south.

Because the early season small ducks appear in early September, a time when dove season is open, all but dyed in the wool waterfowlers, tend to hunt doves.  The conditions seem to be more comfortable, and you do not have to get up so early.

Small ducks are dabbling ducks.  The most popular one is the teal.  They frequent fresh water marshes and rivers, feeding by dipping or tipping.  They will feed on the surface or only as far underwater as they can reach without submerging.  They eat primarily vegetable matter.

In Illinois, the menu includes water hemp, nutgrass, millet, smart weed, insects and small mollusks.  It is illegal to hunt waterfowl over planted millet but one can hunt over millet that is growing naturally.

Although many teal hunters use a call, they are smarter to leave the call at home.  Decoys and decoy placement are the important factor in teal hunting.  These birds are “social idiots.”  More than anything else, they need to be with other ducks.

If a duck of any kind lands in the decoy placement before you can shoot, then let it alone.  Teal will come to join them.  If you shoot into your decoy set-up, it tends to destroy decoys.

A good decoy set is to place both blue‑ and green‑winged decoys out in small groups of three to five.  Spread out some five dozen decoys, in the groups, as far out as a maximum kill zone.  An open area is the kill zone and it needs a clear definition.  This is good for other small ducks as well.

If the decoys are properly placed teal will drop low and fast right onto the water.  Teal seem to work very quietly and so keep the calling to a minimum if you must.

Teal calls emit a high pitch single reed sound.  They are not unlike a mallard hen call.  A few soft feeding chuckles and a few short hen quacks is all it takes. Spooked for any reason, birds on water will rise straight up in a tight group and will be out or range at what seems the speed of light.

In preparation for the small duck season, it is a good idea to go to a clay target range.  Ask that they throw you some “midis” (90 mm) and some “minis” (60 mm) targets.  Learn to shoot fast, crossing targets ‑ the kind that if you think about the shot, they will be gone.

Most small duck hunters are over-gunned.  A 20‑gauge with a modified or improved cylinder works.  Since pattern density is important, the shot size should be #6.  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.  Remember to practice with non-toxic shot.  You cannot use lead when hunting waterfowl and the shot pattern between lead and non-toxic shot can vary.

Pre‑season scouting is a good idea but not essential.  Teal hunting hot spots are predictable from year to year, if the habitat does not change.  One can make a quick check of each spot a few days prior to the opening of the season just to see if their in the area yet.

Because of the lack of meat on a teal and other small ducks, many hunters do not feel that they are worth the trouble.  Teal hunting is a ball and despite their size, they are great eating.  You just have to same them in the freezer until you get enough for a meal.  This year why not try it?

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