You watch the skies with anticipation as the sun peeks over the horizon. The air is silent until you hear what sounds like a glider passing only inches over your head.The air fairly sizzles with the sound of raw speed. Looking up, you spot a flight of small ducks bearing the iridescent wing patches of blue-winged teal.
The soul-stirring sound of these winged rockets is one that many dedicated duck hunters never hear. That's because teal hunting usually occurs very early in the fall. It is so different in many respects from later season hunting that many waterfowlers simply aren't geared for it mentally. It seems so out of place to don lightweight, green-colored camo and to wear mosquito repellent for a duck hunt. It seems more like dove hunting than waterfowling.
Teal provide a great way for duck hunters to get motivated for the main portion of duck season. It's also a lot cheaper to hunt the early teal season than it is to hunt ducks in cold weather. It requires less gear, and hunting areas are usually easier to reach. As a bonus, skill with a duck call is less crucial with teal than with mallards, gadwalls, pintails and other fall ducks.
Your Teal Hunting Outfit
Basic teal hunting gear starts with lightweight waders or hip boots. The ones you use for fishing during the spring and summer will suffice. Any dark color pants will work, since they will be mostly covered by waders or boots. Because you'll be hiding in green foliage, wear a dark green or camouflage shirt or jacket that blends with green leaves or mud.
I prefer a shirt heavy enough to thwart pesky mosquitoes because I can tolerate heat more than being bitten by insects. A mosquito head net is inexpensive, yet priceless. It protects your neck and face from gnats and mosquitoes, and camouflages your face. Top off your outfit with a dark camo cap and hat, and you are ready to hunt teal.
A spread of only 12 to 15 mallard hen decoys makes a suitable spread for teal. Know the depth of the water you will be hunting over, and rig the weights accordingly. Normally 2 to 3 feet is plenty of string for teal decoys. It's better to be too long than too short when it comes to rigging weight strings.
Calling can be helpful at times, but