Teal Opener

Waterfowl season has officially opened in many states with early Canada goose and teal seasons in full swing. An opportunity to catch those early migrating blue wings and resident geese, September waterfowl seasons are a great way to knock the rust out of your joints and the dust off the decoys. These seasons afford the dedicated waterfowler the chance to find out his waders have sprung a hole in mild-temperature ponds, or that his retriever may need a refresher on casting.

For teal, the shooting is often fast and early. Erratic flocks of "darts with wings" will likely begin buzzing the decoy spread well before shooting time. The squeaky high pitched quacks and splashing around in front of the blind will likely drive the pup crazy after a whole summer of bumpers. Because most areas won’t have had a freeze by opening day of an early teal season, bug spray and even sunscreen are a must. Hunting the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in Central Kansas at this time can make you want to put the inventor of DEET on your Christmas list…

Hunting resident Canada geese has its ups and downs. The birds are likely not migrators for one reason or another, and their patterns are pretty set. There is a lot of loafing in cut hay fields and open fields as opposed to heavy feeding in cut corn and milo as late season goose hunter may be used to. In my experience, the calling is a lot less aggressive as well.

Whatever your passion, try to get out for an early season hunt. That friend or kid in your neighborhood who has always wanted to try duck hunting may be more apt to enjoy his or her first time out when the high temp is above 40 degrees.

Remember, early teal and goose, as well as September dove hunting, is migratory bird hunting. Check your state’s regulations for shooting times, daily bag limits, legal species, and required licenses. Some states elect for later shooting times for early seasons and bag limits will likely differ from the regular duck or goose season. For your convenience, the following links for state waterfowl regulations are provided:

Kansas: http://kdwpt.state.ks.us/Hunting/Migratory-Birds

Missouri: http://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/hunting-regulations/waterfowl-regulations

Colorado: http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/Waterfowl.aspx