September Teal Time
Teal are ideal ducks.
They are not overly critical about decoys or calling. They appear to have the highest curiosity and offer duck hunters fast and serious shooting action. When the cool winds from the north start blowing, blue-winged teal begin migrating south from the breeding grounds. Local habitat and weather conditions determine when and where blue-wings will offer hunting opportunities.
Scouting is essential for a successful hunt. Teal are dabblers and prefer shallow marshes and mudflats. They typically fly the edges of points and grass patches. These ducks are driven by cold fronts. Small changes in weather conditions can quickly affect the number of birds in an area. Scouting for teal the day before the hunt may offer the best chance for success. Setting up in the wrong location can leave you watching flock after flock flying by a hundred yards away.
In September, teal are fresh from prairies and have not become wary from hunting pressure. Most duck hunters simply hide in the available natural cover. Good camouflage and remaining still is typically sufficient to remain unseen. If you have a fixed blind, your calling movements may be completely concealed.
When it comes to decoys, teal are receptive to most any dabbling duck decoy. Teal decoys are available from most decoy manufacturers. If you do not have these types of duck decoys, standard mallard hen decoys make excellent magnum sized teal decoys.
In September, teal are in their eclipse plumage phase. Drakes in this phase closely resemble a mallard hen. Most drake decoys are painted to represent their breeding plumage. Along with closely matching the eclipse color phase, standard mallard hen decoys are more visible from farther away. In most cases, a dozen decoys are sufficient for attracting teal. The size of the area you are hunting may benefit from a larger or smaller decoy spread. If you have a spinning wing decoy, make sure to use it. Spinning wing decoys can draw teal like magnets.
Teal respond very well to calling. Drake green-wings make a peep-peep sound while blue-wings whistle. Blue-wing and green-wing hens make a higher pitched quack. Cinnamon teal also have a higher pitched voice. They often group together with green-wings and respond well to the peep to a teal whistle. Start your calling with a fast series of short peeps mixing in a few hen teal hail calls. Lower your calling volume as the teal get closer. Most teal hunters use a duck whistle to create the peeps of a green-wing drake. Teal also respond well to mallard hen calls. Duck calls are available that are tuned to a higher pitch to specifically produce the quacks of teal hens. If you do not have a teal hen duck call, a mallard hen duck call can make effective teal quacks by adjusting your calling technique.
To call these fast flyers, the All Terrain Outdoors Teal Call was developed. The Teal Call perfectly reproduces the fast. high-pitched sounds of a hen teal. Through our field testing, the All Terrain Outdoors Timber Duck Call also works extremely well as a teal call. We discovered, by changing our air pressure and calling technique, our Timber Duck Call produces ultra-realistic hen teal sounds. Blowing a faster and slightly higher pressure “taaat-tat-tat-tat-tat” will put the birds in your face.
Shooting teal may be the most fun a duck hunter will experience. Blue-winged teal are considered, by many, as the rockets of ducks. In all actuality, their small size and kamikaze flying give them the appearance of flying faster, but they have the same speed of several big ducks. Their erratic flying can make them tricky targets. Hunters may improve their teal shooting ability by choosing a shotgun with a fast swing while remaining comfortable. For teal, many hunters choose a lighter 20 gauge. Whether you select a 12 gauge or a 20, smaller shot such as 4, 5, or 6 shot, it is ideal for taking teal with minimal damage. The smaller shot sizes also provide more pellets in your shot pattern. Most shooting distances for teal fall into the 20-30 yard range. An improved cylinder or modified choke tube will open your shot pattern for the closer shooting ranges.