It’s Time to Scout for Early Teal

There’s plenty of time to get out and scout before the Sept. 9 opening of Oklahoma’s September teal and resident Canada goose hunting seasons. These earlier seasons allow waterfowlers to dust off the decoys and enjoy some duck and goose action ahead of the normal waterfowl seasons.

Teal hunting season will run from Sept. 9-24. Resident Canada goose season will run from Sept. 9-18. The daily harvest limits for each species remains the same as last year: six teal and eight Canada geese.

Blue-winged teal and green-winged teal are among the earliest ducks to travel through Oklahoma in the fall as they migrate southward on their traditional journey to wintering grounds in Mexico and Central and South America. They normally migrate quickly and don’t stay in Oklahoma for long.

Migratory Bird Biologist Josh Richardson of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation urges teal hunters to scout for suitable hunting areas and then be ready to hunt as soon as a cool front arrives or immediately after.

Richardson notes there is more water available in Oklahoma this year after near-record precipitation amounts during August. “You will see a lot of teal just using open mud flats” as they seek out aquatic invertebrates for food.

“Also, we’ve had several pretty good fronts come through, and that should have birds antsy and ready to move. So instead of getting just a trickle of birds on those first fronts, this year we should already have a trickle of birds starting, and each front should bring a pretty good flush of birds.

“The stronger the front, the more birds are likely to be moving through,” he said. So, hunters should be ready to hunt as fronts arrive or immediately after.

Resident Canada geese are those birds that stay in Oklahoma year-round, providing a chance to hunt before migrant birds from the north begin arriving in large numbers.

Richardson said resident Canadas usually follow a regular daily pattern of behavior this time of year. Many of these geese have become comfortable spending the day loafing within the state’s urban areas, and that is especially true this year.

“With all the rain through the summer, lawns in urban areas have remained greener than normal. And since most of our resident geese are urban birds, hunting opportunities are limited by the birds’ need to leave urban areas to feed. With better feeding conditions in urban areas, it is quite possible hunters might not see as much movement of geese outside of city limits.”

Goose hunters who are able to find feed fields that geese are using, which are open to hunting, could find some good action, he said.