Louisiana's early teal season opened on September 15 to widely mixed results. With much of the state suffering severe drought and record-high temperatures, overall teal counts have been well below average, and the birds that have been available have been concentrated in the relatively few areas with good habitat. 

Nevertheless, a recent survey of teal hunters around the state has revealed that the season hasn't been a total loss. Jon Despino with ShellShocked Guide service in central Louisiana is thankful for managed water in his area. "We have taken just shy of 1,000 birds since the opener. We are hunting an impoundment, which is a 150-acre private irrigation reservoir. It is full of grass vegetation and lily pads. On the back side are rice fields that we rolled and flooded." 

Hunting farther south near Venice, Bray Bourgoyne and friends have also had success. Despite low survey counts in that area, they have worked to find birds and it has paid dividends. "We hunted the Delta down in Venice and had a five-man limit of bluewings. We saw over 200 birds on that hunt, but none in large groups," he reports. "The water was pretty salty, but the vegetation is still holding up. I know several other hunters who have been doing well in the Venice area."

Even prime locations such as famed Honey Brake Lodge near Jonesville have seen mixed results. "The season has been fair considering the major drought all around," says Jared Mophett, head guide and habitat manager for Honey Brake. "We have had some good hunts though, but not a lot of birds holding in this area due to the dry conditions. You just have to take advantage of the opportunities you have." 

The current weather pattern is expected to persist for the foreseeable future. The state has been spared thus far from any damaging tropical storms, although some heavy rainfall would be beneficial at this point. With teal season wrapping up on Saturday, Louisiana waterfowlers are now looking forward to the regular season opener on November 11 in the West Zone and November 18 in the East Zone.  

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