Two days before the official opening of early teal season Chance Lemoine and I made a trip to one of our marsh blinds for a final inspection and preparation only to turn into bird watchers. Our scheduled trip was continually interrupted by waves of blue winged teal buzzing about and landing tantalizingly close to our blind.

“This could get crazy real fast on Saturday morning” was all we could say as groups of teal continued to fly around the area until we finally finished and headed home.

Saturday morning was exactly what we had hoped for as the light winds were just enough to bring life to our decoy spread and invite some teal to join us. As legal shooting time finally arrived it was a constant rumble of shotgun blasts all over the marsh for nearly 20 minutes in every direction as the record numbers of teal in our area began to move about. Quick and easy limits were the norm from almost everyone I talked to from Matagorda Texas to Monroe Louisiana, it was ridiculous.

Waterfowl hunters with 40 plus years of chasing ducks under their belts could only shake their heads in amazement at the amount of blue winged teal that have descended on our flyway. My phone began lighting up 15 minutes after legal shooting time with messages from other hunters who had already limited out in spectacularly quick fashion. One by one they read “six limits in 14 minutes, four limits in 18 minutes” and so on.

Around 7 a.m. the shooting subsided for about 20 minutes until all the birds that had been run out of the rice fields by hunters showed up in the marsh seeking shelter, bad idea. The gun fire started up again and never missed a beat until around 8 a.m. By the time most of the shooting had ended it seemed like the groups of teal got larger, the late morning flight for our area was even more impressive than the pre-dawn invasion we had just witnessed.

In all directions you could pick out groups of teal flying low over the marsh in that familiar unorganized pattern. Chance and I just sat there after picking up decoys and watched the show for a little while knowing that we could be in for two more weeks of fantastic hunting.

The early predictions of record numbers of teal so far have been right on target much to the delight of local waterfowl hunters. The potential for this same kind of hunting when regular duck season rolls around has many hunters cautiously optimistic. All of the stars may align just right and this could be a season many may never forget.

The combination of timely rains, excellent forage in local marshes, and severe drought to our north may bring record numbers of birds down the flyway this season but that’s still a long way off. Until it actually happens local waterfowl hunters will continue to enjoy hunting the huge numbers of teal that are already here as well as those that continue to pour into the area.  The early teal season runs thru Sept. 30 and if the opening weekend is any indication this may be a 16 day stretch to remember.

Pictured: Quick and easy limits of blue winged teal for this past weekends opener were the norm. RECORD PHOTO: Chuck Uzzle