Both McCauley and Campbell agree that early migrating waterfowl don't receive the fanfare that is often reserved for late season arrivals like mallards and Canada geese, but those who wait until the snow flies before throwing out the decoys are missing the boat.
For McCauley, the mixed bag hunts and steady flow of new migrants into Habitat Flats make the early weeks of a hunting season a great time to be out in the field.
As for Campbell, the best part comes after the decoys, guns
and other gear
have been put away.
Campbell says that a morning's worth of teal – particularly the birds that have had a chance to fatten-up in the harvested rice fields – are perfect for plucking and placing in cast-iron Dutch oven.
"We'll brown the whole bird in some bacon grease or vegetable oil, and cook them down with some onion and garlic until they'll just fall apart," says Campbell. "Make some gravy out of the drippings and serve it all over rice; it's tough to beat."