Well, it’s August in Southeast Texas, we’re sweating profusely, swatting mosquitoes by the tub loads while running from snakes and alligators. Ya know what sounds like a good time? Going outside in the elements to chase fast flying teal. While all those factors aren’t so pleasant, there’s many things that make chasing these little rockets worth it to us devout waterfowlers. It’s the first time we get to shoulder a shotgun and shoot at a duck in 8 months, so teal season cures that itch for us. In Texas, we’re fortunate enough to have a teal season that allows us to bag 6 per person. While the limit is 6 a person, sometimes it’s very easy to take your birds and sometimes it’s not. I’m here to give a few tips and tricks to luring these birds into what you need to bring in the field with you, finding these birds, setting up a spread and ultimately, harvesting them.
WHERE THEY ARE
Teal are small puddle ducks that like to loaf in shallow water flats, lakes, ponds, rice fields and marshy areas. Sometimes, getting to the birds is the hardest part if you hit really shallow areas. My experience with teal is that if you find a couple dozen at your spot in the afternoon or evening, that you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the number you find come buzz in the decoys come the next morning. However, teal are spooky birds, the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ type of bird, so it’s very important to scout and stay on top of their patterns and where they want to be.
TYPE OF SPREAD
Teal are very curious ducks, they’re very attracted to motion. I’ve learned that bringing only 1-2 dozen decoys along with a mojo of any sort will definitely entice teal to your spread. Don’t be too fancy, just throw your decoys out with 2 nice and wide landing areas and your mojo either in the middle or the side of a landing spot will bring the birds to a nice, sporting 15-20 yard shot. If you’re hunting thick rice, or somewhere with a lot of vegetation, I’ve learned that upping the mojo count to 2 or 3 will work without even bringing decoys.
WHAT YOU NEED
As I said earlier, the mosquitoes are fierce and hungry this time in September and they’re looking for vulnerable hunters such as ourselves, so a thermacell and some mosquito spray with deet in it seems to help keep me more comfortable. I also recommend lightweight, breathable waders, nothing is fun about sweating all the way from 5 am to 9 am in hot, tight fitting neoprene waders. Take that full, long range choke out of your gun, and screw in your improved or modified. It’s always a humbling experience when teal dart through the decoys and 3 shots leave your gun without a feather being touched. Putting in this choke will widen your pattern and help your success rate on your shooting. I’ve also learned that shooting 4’s, 5’s and 6’s are a great load for taking down teal. You don’t want to put too much into them that will ruin their wonderful table fare. You’ll also want to bring some snacks and plenty of cold water to stay hydrated.
Have fun, stay safe, shoot straight and have a great teal season. I can’t wait to read all about your hunts and see the pictures.
Marsh Mutt Pro Staff