2013 Teal Daze
The September 2013 early teal season was met with high expectations as always! It is the first waterfowl we are allowed to hunt in Missouri, and a time of year I really look forward to. Unfortunately…this year just happened to be the slowest teal season I have ever seen!!!
High numbers of blue winged teal in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counts allowed for an increased bag limit from 4 birds per hunter to 6 birds per hunter. Needless to say, everyone was anticipating one of the biggest teal seasons yet. But with the late Spring and hatch on the breeding grounds, the teal weren’t ready to travel as early as normal. Louisiana, which is a teal Valhalla of sorts, reported record low numbers of teal, while similar reports were heard throughout the flyways. According to a biologist in Canada, the late hatch was going to put the blue wing migration almost a month behind.
All in all, the teal season was not as fast and furious as it normally is, but there were a few good days and plenty of good memories! The dogs got some work in and Philly Teal “Sammiches” were on the menu. Whether the birds are flying or not, there is nothing like watching the world wake up in a marsh with a wet dog at your side!
With teal season coming to an end, all focus turns on the approaching regular duck season. The October weeks leading up to the Opener maintains a feverish pace; easily my busiest time of year. The list of chores is unending: crops to harvest, pumps to turn on, blinds to brush, pits to grass, trails to mow, decoys to rig and move… With the extreme drought we have had again this summer, keeping pumps running and fueled is the top priority. So far everything has been running smoothly, and I have made great headway in the pumping battle.
Despite the drought, habitat conditions look excellent. In a dry year like this, seeing your sweat equity pay off is very easy. Areas with little vegetation that the drought burnt up are far different from the lush, green irrigated fields. The corn isn’t going to be a “bin buster” by any means, but it made more than enough for ducks. The moist soil foods are looking very strong with a wide variety of natural plants as well as strategic areas of planted millet. I think the harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it…it is going to be extremely satisfying this Fall to see all the ducks taking haven in these fields!
The migration is underway with more teal here now than we had most of September. There are quite a few pintails who have already made their way down here as well. Although the next few weeks will boast of long hours and endless the chores…the regular season opener on October 26th can’t get here soon enough!! Best of luck to everyone finishing your preparations for the 2013 Duck Season!!