The early teal season is nearly upon us—are you prepared?
MONROE, LA. Sept. 12, 2007—Saturday, September 15 waterfowl hunters will embark on a long-held tradition as they head to the marsh in search of the elusive blue and green-winged teal. These fast-flying ducks are among the earliest birds to migrate south and have been challenging sportsmen and women for years.
May breeding surveys indicated blue-winged teal jumped 14 percent to an estimated 6.7 million birds in 2007. This is the third highest estimate for blue-winged teal since 1955 (48 percent above their long-term average). Green-winged teal also increased 13 percent to 2.9 million birds (55 percent above the long-term average).
“These increases are mostly the result of much better conditions on the prairies, which stimulated the birds to stop and breed,” says Scott Yaich, director of conservation for Ducks Unlimited. “Upland nesting habitat is the other critical element that drives nesting success. It was improved this year because of the generous rains but, for the long-term, much remains to be done to secure improved nesting conditions, especially in Canada.”
The increased teal numbers will be welcomed by hunters, because a longer season (16-days) is prescribed when the population is above 4.7 million birds. This season dates are September 15-30, with daily bag and possession limits of 4 and 8 teal. Special September Teal shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.
Significant moisture across the U.S. and southern Canadian prairies in the last week of May and through June improved nesting conditions for ducks in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region, the famous "Duck Factory" of North America. This precipitation improved the production outlook for some later-nesting ducks like blue-winged teal.
“Reports from our biologists in the field indicated above-average precipitation in some key breeding areas for blue-winged teal and a strong late nesting effort by this diminutive bird,” Yaich said.
DU continues to work diligently to resolve those issues and is seeing promising improvements in some areas as agricultural policies and practices change in ways that are more beneficial for teal and all waterfowl.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.
MEDIA RESEARCH ALERT:
Contact: Mike Checkett
Media Relations Biologist
Follow teal and other waterfowl this season on the Ducks Unlimited waterfowl migration map: www.ducks.org/migrationmap
Related Resource: Brush up on your teal hunting with these quick tips.