Teal Hunting

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

it's usually not necessary. With a mallard hen call, you can use a feeding gabble, soft quacks or an occasional five-note "lonesome hen" call. You can also use a high-pitched waterfowl whistle, available at most stores that sell waterfowl hunting supplies, to attract our blue-patched friends. The whistle, like the duck call, requires a little practice. You can also buy special teal calls. The pattern sounds like a long, high-pitched quack, followed by three short quacks. As a rule, silence is much better than making the wrong sounds on a call or whistle.

Almost any shotgun will work for teal. The most popular gauges are 12 and 20. With some of the new non-toxic options available, a 16-gauge is also effective for waterfowl. A pump, semi-automatic or double-barrel shotgun will net you more birds than a single-shot model.

You must use only federally approved, nontoxic shot. Steel is the most popular and least expensive option. Hevi-Shot and Bismuth are also legal. Lots of hunters use 2 3/4-inch, 3-inch, or 3 1/2-inch inch ammunition loaded with No. 4 steel shot. Teal flit, dart and dive at tremendous speeds. Practice shooting at clay targets before hunting to sharpen your skills.

Setting Up

The most important factor in teal hunting is selecting the proper location. If you have no experience in waterfowl hunting, join someone who does. If you can't find anyone who hunts that will share information with you, contact any of the waterfowl hunting guide services on the internet, and consider hiring someone to take you out for the first few times.

Teal hunting is allowed at most conservation areas that contain suitable duck habitat. Conservation agents and area managers are happy to share information about hunting opportunities and can usually provide tips that will greatly enhance your success.

Even if you are able to find a mentor to guide you, it pays to study any information you can find about teal. Learn their behavior patterns, life cycle, food sources and feeding habits. The more you know and understand about teal, the better your chances of putting together a successful hunt.

Teal Lifestyles

For feeding, teal prefer still or slow moving water, only a few inches deep. They like receding sloughs or drying waterholes that have exposed mud banks and flats. They feed on small crustaceans and insects along the waterline. The birds usually need a flyway to the site. Migrating teal follow rivers and watersheds throughout the Midwest every fall. They also take "side roads," flying up tributaries to find cutoffs and sloughs that fit their needs.

Because decoy spreads are smaller and the necessary clothing is more affordable, teal hunting is a great way for newcomers to discover the sport of duck hunting, It also serves as a good "warm-up" for seasoned waterfowlers. Best of all, it's fun.

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