By James Elledge
September 6, 2018 - Most of us have missed – a lot – on Teal. Reading this article will not make you stop missing, but it will make you miss less and allow you to start talking smack to your buddies who are missing more than you!
The early Teal season is a lot of fun for us duck hunters. We’ve been chomping at the bit all year long, and it’s finally the time to work our dogs, blow our whistles and swing on those tasty little rice rockets. But shooting small Teal is a different ball game than a committed fat Mallard or Pintail. Teal are quick and agile, so we must hone our craft to have success when hunting them.
Have Your Head on a Swivel
They can come from any direction, and those little buggars will be over your decoys and on top of your blind before you’ve seen them at all. Jump in the blind early and get still and quiet. When conditions are right, you’ll hear those little jet fighters buzzing around you. Once first light hits and it’s shooting time, get in active shooting position and be ready to pull up and shoot.
Use the Right Shells
In general, most of us hunt waterfowl with BBs (geese), No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4. But these little ducks should be treated differently when it comes to ammo. We recommend using No. 6 (steel, of course) for Teal. This allows you to knock them down at close range and doesn’t explode the birds. You still get your meat, and boy is that meat tasty.
Shoot When Ready
A lot of duck hunters designate a “Get ‘Em” guy who calls the shot when a group of birds has committed. This is a great tactic, but should not be a hard rule for shooting Teal. Unless they are balled up and coming in as a flock (lucky you), the Teal will pass in singles, doubles and often from multiple directions. Our advice is to allow the experienced hunters in your blind to pull up and shoot if a bird is in range. With that said, don’t ruin it for the group by shooting a single if there’s another flock in sight. Use your common sense, but you should think about shooting these small ducks differently than the other species because they are so fast and elusive.
Pick One Out
This rings true for shooting any types of Waterfowl, really, but it’s especially crucial for shooting teal. If you shoot into the flock, you will almost never hit one unless they’re balled up super tight. Pick out a bird, focus on the head, and swing through the shot. Once you’ve knocked that one down, find another one and repeat.
Here’s to shooting doubles in September! Best of luck out there, everyone.
Shameless plug: Our Lightweight Hunting Shirts are the best on the market for knocking down Teal!