As the most expansive drought in nearly half a century continues its grip on the Midwest and Great Plains, teal hunters are scratching their heads and postulating hunting strategies for coming early seasons. With extremely limited, wet habitat options during the migration the record number of migrating blue and green-winged teal will be concentrated along river the river systems and other large water impoundments. For a species that thrives and offers great hunting success in shallow, inundated areas with ample forage, the drought conditions will challenge bird and hunter alike this September.
Hello folks, and, as always, Welcome to Waterfowler.com.
It’s hot. Damn hot – and dry. Not that you needed us to remind you or anyone else of that fact but misery loves company. Should these conditions continue into the start of the early teal season, there only two favorable outcomes that we can envision; mosquito larva will still be akin to a crusty dried grain of sand, and when you find a group of teal, it will be a mind numbing concentration of them. Of course, the number of hunters compacted into these areas of limited water will parallel the record number of birds expected in the migration.
With a huge portion of corn crop teetering on the edge of utter failure, the severity of this drought could result in the most complex, mind-blowing, monkey wrench of “baiting avoidance” in hunting history. In short, running a mower over a failed crop is not normal agricultural practice and you can imagine the confusion and lunacy that it will result if huge swaths of the corn-belt are knocked down to meet crop insurance and disaster relief requirements.
Hunters that plan to hunt during early, resident goose hunting seasons will need to take extra scouting precautions as there is no set “distance” in the federal baiting regulations on how far or near you can be to fields that have been manipulated. Subjective factors such as topography, weather and waterfowl flight patterns are all used to determine a possible violation and differ on a case-by-case basis. If you remotely believe you could be at risk, contact your local conservation law enforcement official and get a ruling before heading to the field.
Water fowler.com reminds out readers that we are always on the look out for enthusiastic Volunteer Field Editors who are willing to post hunting reports and migration trends for their home state. To submit your application for the coming season, visit the link in the “Member Areas” menu above.
Until our next report, get out and do a rain dance today.