The mercury in the thermometer shows temperatures creeping towards triple digits and everybody you look at appears to have just emerged from a swimming pool. The heat waves along the cowling of my motor cannot dampen my enthusiasm as I watch a pair mottled ducks take flight from a marsh pond. If there is anything in the world that could turn my attention from fishing it would be chasing ducks. Let it be known that we have officially started the countdown to September at my house and all is right with the world.

I know I am getting ahead of myself but after suffering through months of no hunting it’s great to actually start talking about topics concerning the sport. Hunters all over the state begin to get restless as the heat of summer makes us all long for cooler days and open seasons. Waterfowl hunters all over the state are anxiously awaiting any news about the upcoming season such as dates, limits, and any other information that will affect their days in the blind. Bird counts, weather predictions, water levels and availability are all high priority topics at the moment. The rains that we have been getting all over the area are certainly putting hunters way ahead of where they were last year during the horrific drought.

Locally a few hunters have already begun to stake out claims on prime marsh ponds and some have even begun to improve vegetation surrounding potential blind locations. Hunters who take the time and effort to make the area around their blinds look as natural as possible will almost always kill more birds. Synthetic materials and blinds made out in the wide open that resemble “taco stands” may be easily accessible but they don’t produce, more often than not they actually flare more birds away than anything. Hunters need to realize these birds have seen so many set up’s along the migration south that attention to detail is critical. By starting on these projects well in advance of the season opener hunters can perfect the set up and spend more time scouting as opening day gets closer.

Another very important part of the upcoming season that needs to be accounted for is your dogs conditioning. Summer heat is tough on dogs so limit training sessions to early and late in the day to minimize the stress caused by heat.

Frequent short training sessions are much better than prolonged efforts in high heat, keep an eye on your dog and be sure to have plenty of water on hand. Some dogs get out of shape during the off season and just like the owners gain a few extra pounds so this is the perfect time to get your dog back down to hunting season weight. As much as we all like to bring our dogs with us when we head out to the lease please be aware of the alligator situation at this time of the year. The local marshes are full of gators right now and the big lakes have their fair share of the big reptiles as well so please be wary. Nothing in the world is worse for a hunter than to loose their dog and loosing one to a gator has got to be perhaps the worst way you could loose one.

In the mean time according to the calendar we have roughly 50 plus days to the magic month of September when hunting season cranks back up again and it will be here much sooner than you think.

Photo: Blue winged teal are among the first ducks to reach our area each season. With some prime habitat as a result of all the rains the early teal season should be well worth the wait from last season.