The teal opener

Al Hansen

Well-known member
Last Saturday I had promised my wife that I would do a few things for her, so I knew that I would not be out at the teal pond for the opener. That means that I wouldn't be straining my ears to listen for the whisling of wings. Instead I found myself pulling the truck to a spot where I had picked to build a blind. This was easy for me to do because all I had to do was get out of the truck and get my Benelli Nova, three,7' stakes, my large piece of burlap camo, my camera, and the 5 gallon bucket that I sit on which was holding 5 teal decoys.

My only problem at the time was when I stopped my truck, I couldn't open the door because right at that moment I watched a flock of around 15 teal make two swings around the pond and then fly within 75 yards of me and then drop in like I wasn't there at all. I couldn't believe it but it sure was fun to watch. This about drove my duck dog nuts. Chip was all business. So as I got out I watched the birds get up and leave. Then I let Chip out. He has been waiting a year almost to go with me on a duckhunt.

I made a small teepee to break up our silhouettes and we were ready to hunt. The time 8:15AM when we arrived and in a short ten minutes I had everything done. My duck dog was to my left and slightly in front of me. That's all I needed to do because I use him as my radar screen, also. This was his stomping grounds and he was well aware of his environment.

We didn't have to wait but twenty minutes when three bluewing/cinnamons came in. I was lucky enough to pull down one and Chip was now on his way for a pretty long retrieve. He is ten years old but what I still enjoy about him is how he is so darn methodical when it comes to retrieving ducks. When he was younger he showed so much get up and go. Now he just goes about making a good retrieve with no time for splashing, leaping in or scrambling out. I just love him so much and pleased as punch that he can still be with me doing what he loves to do. I thought for a short while and realized I was no different in my approach to hunting. I'm very methodical and toss my decoys no further than my retrieving stick will reach. There is no way I can walk in the pond just because of the mud.

It was a very good hunt because when the second group of three teal came in, I took one them, also. It was now 9:23 AM and it was hotter than I cared for it to be, so I packed up and we headed for the house. Chip was one happy yellow lab. The only other reason I could have that made me want to exit this area is that it is prime western diamondback rattlesnake country. With heat they just become more aggressive.

At 4:45 PM my phone rang. It was my barber and after talking with me, I knew where I was going to be tomorrow morning. He told me that he had just opened the gates to two pieces of property that he irrigates. Both are alfalfa fields and when they hold water, the puddle ducks love them. This should be fun.

Nice hunt indeed! Next weekend opens the teal/woodduck season for me. I need to start getting all my stuff ready.
Can't believe there is that much water. Most your pics tend to be of mud puddles.
Glad you and Chip got some action!
Very nice! I do believe those are the first ducks of the 2022-23 season on the DHBP!!

A little Indiana opening day teal season solo hunt success on my personal marsh. First time to ever use a 28 gauge for waterfowl. Definitely wont be the last time using the 28.
I guess those summer monsoons have been helping out. Looks like you have water and ducks. I was concerned you'd be high and dry this year.
Good to hear from you, Dani. I wish you all the best when you get after them in just 5 more days!
Hey Robin, I guess the duck gods got involved this year when it came time for our monsoon season. It actually started on June 15th when normal time the first week in July. We had some dandy rains along with a couple of gully washers! That is when it rained so hard that the arroyos ran across Hwy 1, that we live next to.

Funny, I just remembered that in 1949, when I was 8 years old we drove on this Hwy when we were vacationing in the desert southwest. Little did I know that I would be living here some day.

Anyway, I will hope that we might get a couple more rains this fall. I'm hoping that the water will be there in another 5 weeks when our regular duck season begins.

You were right about the mud puddles. Last year I shot three teal and that was the end of my season. The pond dried up along with the Rio Grande. It got pretty ugly around here. That got me to thinking that I hadn't checked on the Rio Grande's flow chart. Well, heck, the Rio Grande is totally dry with 0 cubic feet flowing down here. Dang it.
Hi Carl,
Thanks for those comments. Is this your 2nd or 3rd year in Florida now? Did you find some good spots to hunt?
Congratulations on your very successful duck hunt. That shotgun is a dandy and I have known quite a few folks who still use their 28 ga. Blake, thanks for putting in that picture. Very nice.
Hi Brad,
It was good to hear from you. Well, now I can only hope that we don't get many windy days. That will help slow down the evaporation process. As I just mentioned to Robin, the Rio Grande is totally dry in this area. That is not a good sign at all.

This morning I drove down to the land that my barber farms. He had called me last night telling me that he would be irrigating two of his fields. When I got to his land I saw something that I have never seen before down here. Bev and I have lived here for 25 years. About 12 to 15' from the irrigated field there was a dry patch of land next to a low flow ditch. On this spot I counted 27 Mexican ducks and only one of them showed the signs of being a Mexican/mallard hybrid. It looks like they had a great year for raising youngsters. Normally, I will see more mallards than Mexican ducks so this was a big surprise. I have to admit that I screwed up big time. I had my camera along with my long lens that would have been perfect for taking some pictures of them. I never gave it a thought.

Oh, I did take another juvenile drake bluewing along with a juvenile drake gwt. Got them jump shooting a low flow ditch.

Good luck when your season begins. Make sure you give that pup of yours plenty of reps!
Despite not having many teal here yet, my 9 mo. old pup has began his first season. He has 50+ teal retrieves as well as his first goose. Pretty good for a pup with a marginal trainer, me. I didn't have my own dog last season, so it is a real joy again. Good luck to all. I thank you, Al, for all your advice over these past years.IMG_7415.jpgIMG_7411.jpg
Al Hansen said:
Hi Dave,
I thank you for your comment. Do you have a teal season in Iowa?

Yes we do. SPECIAL SEPTEMBER TEAL Sept. 1-16
I don't usually get too fired up to hunt the early season anymore. Years ago I enjoyed hitting a few walk-in areas but they tend to be overcrowded with other hunters now.

Our regular season opens the same day as early deer muzzle loader, Oct 15th, so I will be hunting for deer that day.
Al, third year. I haven?t even bought a license since I have been down here. The move here really took the wind out of hunting for me. But the fishing is great!
Nice outing Al. Blue wings are here in NJ, but we don't have a teal season. By the time it opens(3rd Sat in October) it is rare for them to be around. About once every 10 years one of our group gets one. I do love seing them though. I have sometimes seen them while rail bird hunting around now.