It’s About to Get Teal
Scout It Out
Especially if you’re hunting on public land, you should invest pre-season hours in finding the best teal spots. Do your homework to learn not just where birds are but also how they’re traveling from the roost to feeding areas. Focus on shallow, muddy waters where they can feed on insects, vegetation, crustaceans and/or seeds. If you know where they’re heading and the flight path they’re taking, you can beat other hunters to the punch.
Dial in Your Decoy Strategy
While you might opt for dozens of decoys when targeting some waterfowl species, about one dozen in a simple setup usually works best when hunting teal. Consider adding some spinners into your setup — they’re especially beneficial on bluebird days. But ensuring you position them correctly is even more important. Use your scouting intel to place decoys in a spot those birds will want to land — not where it would be most convenient for you.
Time it Right
Timing is everything when it comes to teal hunting. From being set up well before first light to calling at the perfect second to pulling the trigger not a second too soon, your timing can make or break the hunt. Do everything possible to get out there on the season opener. Set your alarm extra early to ensure you’re ready to go before the birds start moving in. Wait to call until just after the teal have passed. And shoot when they’re about 20-30 yards from you.
If you’re seeing plenty of teal but they aren’t in range, don’t be afraid to move — early and fast. Take advantage of those small windows of opportunity and stay mobile. Hunt as light as possible (another reason to keep your decoy strategy small and simple) so you can quickly pack up and go where the teal are.
Zero in on One Teal
If you’re not paying attention, other species that show up around the same time or sport similar blue patches can be easy to mistake for teal. Make a solid ID before you pull the trigger and be careful to shoot only one bird at a time to avoid exceeding limits or taking an out-of-season duck. Rather than just firing at the middle of a large group of teal, zero in on one bird at the outside of the flock.