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 road and the hood of my truck cannot dampen my enthusiasm as I raise my
binoculars to get a better look at a few mottled ducks along a secluded marsh pond. The very sight of
ducks right now coupled with the fact that we just flipped another calendar page is enough to put a
smile on my face. A few quick seconds to work the math out in my head lets me know we are just over
 60 days away from early teal season. 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 hear 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. The census count on teal is high enough to
provide for the longer season but that may be just a product of skewed numbers.
Last years ultra high population is carrying over to this year’s numbers and
that means birds that are 1 year older and 1 year wiser, much the same way snow
geese get season after season. The amount of young birds will be less than last
year and the effect that has on season success remains to be seen.

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 lose their dog and losing one to a gator
has got to be perhaps the worst way you could lose one.

In the mean time we will all be staring at the calendar with high hopes and expectations while looking
forward to September and the opportunities that come along with that month. There is no time like the
present to start preparing because opening day will be here before you know it.