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Teal Are Ammo Stealers
Anyone that has pursued early season teal has certainly had their share of misses at fast flying, twisting teal. You fire off 3 rounds and realize just how much open air there is around a small duck!! I would like to lay out 5 simple, yet hard tips to put into use to help you consistently kill more teal per box of shells.
Male Blue Winged Teal (Anas discors).
- Smooth is Fast. This is a saying we use all the time in tactical applications and is very true for wing shooting as well. Make a smooth and deliberate mount of your shotgun and move your barrel smoothly through the bird to its’ head and pull the trigger. Try not to play catch up with the bird and stay behind with the hopes of snatching rapidly ahead and making a miracle shot. Keep it smooth and follow through and you will be shocked at how many more teal you will kill.
- Stand um up. On many, many occasions people let teal get waaay to close before they shoot. I like to try and shoot my first shot at 20-30 yards or so and teal will usually stand straight up like a skyscraper and present you much easier shots. If you wait to shoot when they are 10 yards or so, your pattern is very tight and not very forgiving. Have someone to shoot first and stand up the flock, then start picking them off one at a time.
- Change your choke/load combination. Green wing teal are the smallest dabbling ducks in the country and require much less terminal velocity to bring them down. This is a good time for 4’s, 5’s or 6’s to reign supreme. If you shoot an aftermarket choke tube like a patternmaster, take out your full or modified and opt for a “decoy” or short range tube. Most of your shots will be less than 35 yards and you will have a dense and gap free pattern with a good wad stripping choke. A typical load of 1 1/8 ounce steel has around 140-150 pellets, while the same load of #6’s will have around 330-340 pellets. This equates to more chances to kill birds per shot.
- Keep your head down and focus. It is very easy to want to look at the whole show when 50 bluewings are twisting and dive bombing the dekes at daylight. However, this will usually lead to 3 spent hulls and your retriever looking at you with disgust. Pick a single bird and kill him FIRST. Don’t worry about the others that are zig zagging like they are possessed by a devil. When your cheek meets your stock, keep it there and maintain that focus and I guarantee you will kill more birds.
- Keep other shells handy. Teal are notorious for flying the first 30-45 minutes of legal shooting time and then almost disappear. As soon as you are done shooting, IMMEDIATELY reload. I have certainly been guilty of looking and seeing more birds approaching and raise up only to hear a “click” and realize I never reloaded my gun. Try and keep the shells in a wader pouch, bench or somewhere that is very easy and convenient to reach. I will often attempt to put shells in a loaded gun to make sure I am ready for the next bunch that falls into the blocks.
Try and apply these tips this year when teal season rolls around. I know some of this may seem like common sense and other parts may be new to you, but give them a shot and see if they don’t help you this teal season.