Line Up for Teal

Field and Stream - - SOUTH - —John Gordon

➞ Buzzing mos­qui­toes, the smell of re­pel­lent barely keep­ing them at bay, and you and your fel­low diehards aching to take the first shots of the year. Wel­come to open­ing day of the Septem­ber teal sea­son. Mi­grat­ing flocks of these speed­sters can num­ber more than 100 birds, which makes it the per­fect hunt to share with a bunch of friends.

All you need is a few dozen de­coys, some por­ta­ble marsh seats, and a cou­ple of spin­ning-wing en­ticers. Set up in a line along the east side of a shal­low-wa­ter im­pound­ment levee, us­ing nat­u­ral cover to hide. Then spread the de­coys down that line, leav­ing plenty of space be­tween them. Teal de­coys are ideal but not nec­es­sary, be­cause the birds will de­coy to any pud­dle­duck species. Place a pair of spin­ners in the mid­dle of the spread. Ideally, birds will fin­ish near the cen­ter, and ev­ery­one will get some shoot­ing when they dis­perse af­ter the first shots. But if one side of the line proves hot­ter, just switch it up.

And re­mem­ber to pick out one bird. It’s all too easy to flock-shoot teal as groups bomb in low and fast. This is a great hunt for small-gauge guns too, be­cause quick-han­dling 20- and 28-gauges add to the fun.

Fir­ing Line Teal hunters take their po­si­tions along a levee in Texas.

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