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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Hunting Early Migrators

Get a jump-start on the hunting season
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  • photo by Doug Steinke
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Louisiana Teal

The shallows are just where Avery Pro-Staff member Jason Campbell says that he will see blue-winged teal begin to congregate after their arrival in southern Louisiana as early as mid-August.

Campbell says that by the time earl teal season rolls around – typically the second weekend in September, the birds have become accustomed to feeding in harvested rice fields. But that all changes, Campbell says, when the guns go off on opening morning.

"When the hunting starts, a lot of those teal will leave the fields because of the pressure and head to the freshwater marshes to rest during the day," says Campbell. 

"At this point, our attention turns to the marsh where we'll hunt birds that have been out feeding all night."

For September teal, Campbell will use 1 to 2 dozen GHG teal decoys, preferring to put out only hen decoys to match the eclipse plumage worn by the birds.

Campbell adds motion to his spread by placing dove or teal spinning wing decoys; their smaller size make the motorized decoys easier to transport into the field, and the high rotation speeds are an attention-grabber for birds passing by.

"There's no guarantee with the motorized decoys and teal, but they do seem to be more effective in September than later in the fall," says Campbell. "But at the very least, they give the birds something to look at, especially if you're hunting a big area."

Calling is one aspect of the early teal season that Campbell says cannot be overlooked, as birds will respond well to a series of high, raspy quacks.

Duck call manufacturers do produced calls specifically designed for blue-winged teal, but Campbell, who also serves as a Pro-Staff member for RNT Calls, says that with practice, a hunter can use a traditional, single-reed, Arkansas-style mallard call. 

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