Louisiana’s 16-day teal season comes to an end this coming Sunday. In general, the weather has been hotter than the hunting, and reports from across the state have been mixed. Good for some, others, not so much.
“There’s a cool front coming, and hopefully we’ll get a push of some new birds to close out the season,” says veteran guide Roland Cortez. “The marsh in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes looks really good, but for some reason they just didn’t have the numbers of teal. We’ve hunted the Venice area and had respectable numbers of teal and some really good days. That’s where I’ll be this weekend,” he says.
For the regular season, Cortez will be guiding again at Dave’s Bayou Lodge & Outfitter in northeast Louisiana. He notes that areas to the north of the state benefited from a lot of preseason rain and were able to hold good numbers of bluewings this season. “The guides at Dave’s Bayou had a great teal season with limits almost every hunt until recently. Like a lot of areas, they need some new birds now,” he adds.
Hunting reports and bird counts in the southwest corner of the state have also been good. Opening weekend saw quick hunts in many areas. However, as in other parts of the state, the teal action slowed as the season progressed.
Steve Savoye and a few friends hunted the second weekend of the season in the Lake Arthur area. Buoyed by good reports, the group had high hopes for their guided trips on agricultural fields. “We hunted flooded fields that were in great condition, but we just didn’t see a lot of birds,” Savoye says.
As was commonly reported over that weekend, the group had some decent action, but the results weren’t close to the full straps they had hoped for. “The birds we saw were skittish and not acting like teal at all. All the larger groups didn’t want anything to do with the decoys and seemed to pass high and wide. We did get some action with smaller groups and added up birds by making those shots count,” Savoye says. “The hunting wasn’t as good as we were expecting, but the food, friendship, and getting out in the field was still well worth it.”
Guide Steve Stroderd was optimistic in the preseason. So far, that optimism has paid off, but change came this week. “My hunts were very successful for the most part until recently. Although I wasn’t seeing the large numbers of teal we usually have around, what I was seeing worked very well and we shot really good,” he says.
Strodered echoes the mixed results that most hunters across the state have reported in recent days. “I have heard isolated reports of people having lots of success and some great properties having little success. We never had any weather, no rain, and no south wind. I heard a report that there are still bluewings in Canada as of yesterday, so I’m sure there are plenty yet to push down. Hopefully things will pick up with the approaching front,” Stroderd adds.
Although the first weekend of fall is here, near record high temperatures will greet hunters as they hit the blinds over the next couple days to wrap up teal season. Louisiana has been spared from hurricanes this year, but a wave in the Caribbean is expected to intensify into a tropical storm or even a hurricane by next week as it moves into the Gulf. The ultimate path is uncertain, but Louisiana hunters are certainly wishing it elsewhere. It won’t have any effect on the remainder of the teal season but could impact the regular season if it makes landfall in Louisiana.
“Overall, the teal season has been good. Not great, but good. Most of the marsh looks good. Good feed and grass, and so far, no storm surges. Hopefully it stays that way, and we’ll be ready for the regular duck season,” Cortez says.