When the season offers the initial cool northern breezes, teal begin their September migration. When we typically imagine hunting ducks, the thoughts of frozen fingers, numb toes, and icy waters flood our minds. However, an early season teal hunt is often a short sleeve endeavor bringing flurries of mosquitos and free-flowing perspiration. While the arrival and locations of teal are dictated by the local habitat and weather conditions, take advantage of the hunting opportunities these aerial acrobats offer when they hit your area.
They key to scoring during teal season is productive scouting. Teal will literally appear today and disappear tomorrow. They are easily affected by even the slightest weather change. When the first cool fronts begin pushing south, flights of teal will start showing up. Teal prefer to feed on shallow water invertebrates, aquatic vegetation, and flooded crops. Focus your scouting efforts in locations that offer any of these elements. At dawn, watch for teal working around feeding areas. When you locate a good concentration of teal, hunt that location the following morning. Sloughs and swamps with open water area prime locations for teal as they typically offer a tremendous amount of shallow vegetation.
During the September teal season, the birds are still sporting their summer plumage, which resembles the plumage of a mallard hen. As a result, mallard hen decoys work extremely well and appear as a magnum teal decoy.
Teal are often very trusting and will decoy extremely well. They also have a strong attraction to motion decoys. Locating the ideal location and creating an attractive decoy spread is usually all that is needed to burn through boxes of shells. Along with the willingness of teal to decoy, they also respond to well to calling. A blue-winged teal hen makes a call resembling that of a mallard hen. The differences in the call of the teal hen are a faster cadence, lower volume, and higher pitch. Do not forget to add even more confidence to your calling by mixing in teal drake whistles.
In most cases, teal offer fast, in-your-face action. To capitalize on this, you should opt for a more open choke tube, such as an improved skeet, improved cylinder, or modified choke tube. Even though their small size makes them appear easy to kill, teal can be tough to take down. For starters, they do not float into range in a graceful vee formation. Rather, they appear as a mass of fired-up hornets. Their speed and kamikaze style maneuvers can leave hunters with a pile of empty hulls and the embarrassment of poor shooting. Relax and make your shots count.
Hunting teal in September is a mainstay of duck hunting tradition. Although teal hunting can require some specialized tactics, minimal equipment is necessary to enjoy the sport. If you have the chance to hunt September teal, take advantage of the opportunity and capitalize on some outstanding hunting. Start your waterfowl season in a great way by chasing these bonus ducks.