Water fowl hunters get first opportunity
The long wait will finally be over Saturday morning as legions of water fowl hunters head to their favorite spot for the early teal season opener.
Record high numbers of blue winged teal have many hunters excited at the prospect of a real “barn burner” of an opening weekend. Couple those high numbers with a timely break in the weather and one could see how this weekend shapes up really well for local hunters.
Easily the biggest factor for a successful hunt has to be water, or lack of it. Many tried and true areas that have historically been hot spots are dried up or at least very close to being dried up. The opportunity to catch and retain some of the water tropical storm Lee was a big boost to many farmers and hunters who depend on rice fields for both their livelihoods.
For the last couple of weeks the blue wings have been trickling into our area and along other parts of the coast. Good numbers of these fast flying little ducks have been reported around from the Katy prairie to Grand Chenier in Louisiana.
The approaching full moon will do nothing but help increase those numbers as teal cover plenty of ground while migrating at night. It wouldn’t be out of the question to expect a big influx of new birds this week as several factors such as temperature, moon phase, and weather appear to have all aligned in the water fowl hunter’s favor.
Now before we just get too excited about opening morning there are still a few things you need to consider before you head out to your blind.
First off you need to be certain you have all your license requirements fulfilled. Nothing takes the shine off a great day in the field like an unnecessary ticket and you can bet the game wardens will be patrolling, especially if you hunt any public areas so be prepared.
Also take into consideration that it’s still warm and all the usual suspects such as alligators and snakes will be out in force. Please, by all means, be careful if you bring a dog because there is a high probability that an alligator will be somewhere near your area.
The ultra dry summer we have had up to this point has shifted the populations of alligators into new areas causing many folks who never worried about them to become much more aware of their surroundings.
The potential for an encounter with an alligator grows exponentially as you get closer to water and that includes rice fields, stock tanks, and just about anywhere else for that matter. Please take precautions and keep an eye out for your canine friends.
With all the precautions taken care of and the proper license requirements met, getting down to the business of actually hunting should be easy.
Don’t make your approach too complicated; a few dozen decoys and some adequate cover will put you in good shape.
Don’t spend too much time worrying about the set up; instead put that energy and effort into scouting. If the birds are there then you have all but won the battle since teal aren’t real particular.
There is nothing like having a large flock dive bomb into a spread of decoys with reckless abandon, it’s what keeps us coming back every year.