Teal hunting is easy
As I stated last week, the early Teal season has begun in Kansas. It is a quick season, a short two-week session to whet your appetite for the regular duck season that will begin in October. Of all of the duck hunting that one can participate in, the Teal hunting is probably the easiest.
Last weekend at the K-State football game, I chatted with a couple of Teal hunters about duck hunting. The two duck hunters were actually friends of mine from when we all were students in Manhattan. Randy Shaw and Tom Miller grew up hunting the Cheyenne Bottoms, a famous haven for waterfowl in central Kansas. Mention the Cheyenne Bottoms to a waterfowl hunter and their eyes will widen with excitement. Shaw and Miller lived in the apartment above me on Denison Avenue across from Ahearn Fieldhouse, beginning our sophomore year. We quickly established a friendship upon moving in.
An interesting little sidenote here is that after leaving college, the three of us drifted apart and lost contact with each other. We had no idea the whereabouts of each other or what we were doing. Unknown to us, our daughters happened to meet at Kansas State University and became friends without any knowledge of the fact that their fathers actually were friends. The girls set up a tailgate at a football game and upon arriving the three of us duck hunting buddies just stood there staring at each other in disbelief!
We were a lot fatter and had a lot less hair but we quickly reconnected and recounted the good old days on the marshes of Tuttle Creek. Since that unbelievable meeting, we have once again kindled the duck hunting fires and uncased the shotguns! I cannot tell you how much I learned about duck hunting from these two guys.
Where I grew up, we pheasant and quail hunted, but where these two guys grew up near Great Bend and LaCrosse they duck hunted. The first lesson I learned from these two had to do with Teal hunting. We ventured north of Olsburg on the upper end of Tuttle Creek on a sunny afternoon during the week. All we had in our possession for luring the ducks to us was half a dozen decoys. That is all it takes for luring Teal in. Teal are inquisitive birds and will buzz any decoy setup to check it out. You don’t need for them to set their wings and land in the spread. Teal hunting is pass shooting most of the time.
The Teal see your decoys and will fly by at the speed of sound to give them a look. We arrived at the marsh and just picked a random location and threw out the half dozen decoys about 20 yards out in front of us. We hunkered down in the tall reeds and waited for the birds to show up. Maybe half an hour passed before the first flock of Blue-Winged Teal dropped by to check the decoys out.
My two buddies popped up and dropped a couple of birds. I sat there with my gun halfway up and did not get a shot. The birds flew by so fast that I was not ready or expecting such fast action. The two of them got a good laugh at my reaction time. If you want to drop a Teal, you had better be ready and fast.
You do not need to use any duck calls with Teal hunting in the early season. If they can see your decoys, they will come check you out. Don’t mess up the situation by blowing on a call. All that you need to get Teal to come to you is a half dozen decoys of any type of duck, a place to conceal yourselves, camouflage clothing and ducks in the area. The Teal will do all the work.
You just need to be ready, because more than likely they will not light in your spread but will instead blow by at a high rate of speed. Most of the time you never see them coming and all of a sudden they are flashing by the decoys and all you see are retreating ducks and hearing their shrill little whistle call.
With Teal hunting, keep it simple and basic. Find some birds in the area and then let them find you.