MEMPHIS, Tenn. – July 15, 2021 – This week, Ducks Unlimited Television (DU TV) continues its early season Texas teal hunting at Matagorda County’s Spread Oaks Ranch. The hunting is hot on the heels of a tropical storm that dumped large amounts of water on the Texas middle-coast prairie.
It’s late September and the DU TV cameras capture the blue-winged teal and the intensely managed moist soil wetland habitat that attracts and holds them every season.
Because Texas is 95% privately owned, DU works with landowners to maximize their wetlands conservation efforts through initiatives such as the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project.
“There is no public land from this area up into the rice prairies of Texas,” said DU Manager of Conservation programs Todd Merendino. “Because there is so much private land, it’s really important and necessary to work with private landowners if we are going to affect waterfowl habitat at the landscape scale.”
Early season Texas teal hunting has gone through cycles in the past century. Initially, teal stopped in the state on expansive marshes filled with invertebrates and seed-bearing moist soil grasses. Over the years, many shallow water holding areas were converted to rice fields and the teal started using those areas during migration. Today, rice production is down, and less teal habitat is available for staging birds.
“Before the settlers came in and started planting rice, blue-wings came through the state and were found in the freshwater marshes,” said former Texas state waterfowl biologist Charles Stutzenbaker. “When rice farming became a major land use activity, the teal took advantage of that habitat as their migration coincided with rice harvest. Today, with a huge reduction in area rice farming, there are fewer and fewer places for the birds to feed.”
Also on this episode of DU TV, professional retriever trainer Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels covers an important drill to get your dog teal-hunting ready on “Duck Dog,” and DU TV co-host Fred Zink shows the importance of tone channel positioning for smooth duck call operation on “Duck Talk.”
DU TV airs Mondays at 1 a.m., Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m., Fridays at noon, Saturdays at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sundays at 3 a.m. (all times Eastern) on the Sportsman Channel. The Saturday 2 p.m. slot anchors “The Landing Zone presented by Ducks Unlimited” waterfowl and upland hunting lineup. Bonus content and classic episodes can also be found at www.ducks.org/dutv.
DU TV is sponsored by Browning Arms, Browning Ammunition, Drake Waterfowl Systems, Zink Calls, Higdon Outdoors, Purina Pro Plan, Mossy Oak Camo, Mossy Oak Properties, Mossy Oak Biologic, Mossy Oak Nativ Nurseries, and Tetra Hearing.
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Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.