It’s hard to imagine that even though the temps are soaring outside, teal season will be here in a month. For those of you who aren’t aware, a teal is a small duck that gets its own season here in Texas. The reason for this special two week season is because the teal begins the southerly migration much sooner than other ducks. During September the flooded fields and marshes of Texas will have thousands upon thousands of teal take up residence as they head south. Although the temps are hot and the mosquitoes are usually thick, teal hunting can be some of the best wing shooting that planet Earth has to offer.
Here are a few tips to get you ready for the season.
1). Get a teal call and learn to blow it.
There are two distinct sounds that a teal makes. One is a peep- peep type of whistle, and the other is a high pitched rapid quack. There are calls on the market that mimic each sound. The whistle is easier to blow, but the quack is sometimes more effective when blown properly. Time is running out so if you don’t have one of each, go shopping now!
2). Pack your mosquito spray and therma cell.
Both of these devices are imperative to have in the bag on a teal hunt. Without them you will feel like you have been the victim of a vampire. The skeeters will suck every ounce of blood from your hot sweating body!
3). Check your waders
If you plan to pull out your waders from last season, go ahead and do it now! Sometimes mice decide to chew waders when they are stored in garages or storage buildings. They may even make a nest in your boot. Other times, waders simply dry rot or tear. Either way, no one wants wet underwear after a hunt so be sure to do an inspection.
4). Separate your teal decoys and use them only.
Teal decoys are much lighter and easier to haul. Since you will be hunting only teal, it makes perfect sense to use teal decoys exclusively. If you need new ones, the good news is teal are cheaper than the full size dekes and Academy Sports has them in stock at most locations across the state.
5). Shoot number 6 steel.
Most of the teal that are shot are within 30 yards. These birds decoy well and are not as tough as larger ducks such as mallards, pintails, or gadwall. A number six shot will give you a nice pattern with plenty of bbs to increase your odds of a hit. I also suggest shooting an improved or skeet cylinder choke. Teal are fast, erratic flyers and you will need all of the help you can get in hitting one.
6). Pick one bird when shooting
The most common mistake that I see teal hunters make is not picking out an individual bird. These ducks usually fly in large groups so the temptation is to just throw up your gun and flock shoot. Remember if you aim at nothing….. that’s probably what you will hit. Be patient and pick a single bird out of the flock before pulling the trigger.
7). Make sure your Retriever is ready
If your duck dog has been laying in the air conditioner since last duck season, then he needs a tune up immediately. Feel free to give me a call at DuckDogTrainer.com or do it yourself. Either way, it is not a good idea to expect him to perform flawlessly in these conditions without a little bit of a pre season tune up. As a side note, pay attention to make sure your dog doesn’t overheat and be on the look out for gators.
Time is limited so I encourage you to make a move now in the right direction. The Bible tells us to “make the most of every opportunity”. I’m not sure if God was talking about teal hunting when he spoke these words, but if you are going to hunt you might as well make it the best hunt it can be. By following these tips you should be well on the road to duck hunter happiness! If you have a great hunt, send me some pics to post! Happy hunting and may God richly bless you this season.
Brian Johnson (www.duckdogtrainer.com.)