Teal hunters enjoy solid season opener
In one synchronized motion hunters all over Texas rolled their watches over in anticipation of that magic word that every waterfowl hunter covets, “legal shooting time.” As the clock struck time, for many, the hunt was over in an instant as blue winged and green winged teal converged on the decoys in swarms that make mosquitoes jealous. From north Texas down to the coast it looks like the early teal season opener was far more than just a success; it was down right incredible in some areas. Local hunter Aaron Hommel who frequents the marshes and rice fields near Welsh, La. just shook his head when he described their opening morning with the few simple words “it was just good and it finished in a hurry.” Hommel went on to tell me that they were done in less than an hour with a six man limit and still had birds buzzing them as they picked up decoys.
A little farther north from Winnie, out near Huffman and Liberty the results were nearly identical as hunters in small freshwater impoundments were bombarded at shooting light. The agriculture around that area makes it a hot spot and this weekend was no exception. Hunting in freshwater areas is a little different than hunting brackish marsh because you can’t see the birds coming from long distances like you can on the coast. The close quarters makes the action quick and certainly keeps you on your toes.
Here locally on Sunday morning I had the pleasure of not only watching waves of teal but also watching some young hunters enjoy the sport. Several dads from one of the local leases got together with their sons on an ultra hot teal pond and had a “junior shoot” as it was all about the little guys. Cade and Wyatt Bailey, Johnny and Jackson Griggs, and Tripp Daleo got front row seats to some spectacular decoying action. The young hunters were set up in blinds at the edge of the water standing in a fallow field while the dads were stationed beside them with ringside seats. As early as 20 minutes before shooting light the decoys were bouncing around as teal after teal dropped in and swam around, all the boys were wide eyed with excitement and ready for shooting light. As soon as it reached legal time the war was on and it was a bad day to be a teal. The morning finished quickly as the young hunters limited out in less than an hour. It was great for the dads to just sit back and watch all the action. I know they will certainly remember that hunt for quite some time.
Farther down the coast the action was just as good according to all the reports, quick limits and plenty of birds seemed to be the common thread. The guys down at Bill Sherrill’s Waterfowl in Wharton had an incredible opening weekend shoot as eight groups of hunters took nearly 200 teal, talk about some action. The great results were not expected as the prairie down there had plenty of water and that usually means the birds will be spread out all over. The big equalizer to all the water was the amount of hunters in the area who kept the birds flying. Weekday hunts will be more of “luck of the draw” because fewer hunters will obviously let the birds rest more. Weekday hunting success depends much more on scouting as the teal will get to an area where they are comfortable and stay there unless they are disturbed. If you aren’t in the right spot early you could get shut out when there is too much water in an area.
So far the weatherman has not cooperated and the temperatures have been tough and barely tolerable. Sunday was better but, still way too hot for most folks taste. The forecast for the week looks tough as the temperatures should stay warm early and the light winds will be no help on the mosquitoes. If you get a chance to get out there and make a hunt be sure to pay attention because the alligators and snakes are still out in full force. Keep a close eye on your dog and make sure you check out your blind thoroughly because nobody wants an unwelcome cottomouth visitor in the dark.