Teal are perfect ducks. They’re not picky about calling and decoy spreads. They seem to be the most curious of all the duck species and enjoy coming to visit decoys. They are small but tasty. The best part about teal is the shooting. It’s fast and furious. They usually fly in flocks of ten or fifteen birds. The only thing wrong with them is that they are usually long gone in northern states by the second or third week of the season. Here are a few tips to help you bring more teal to the table.
When it comes to decoys, teal specialists buy teal decoys. But honestly, hen mallard decoys are just as effective. Fifteen to 20 decoys is plenty, but if you have more use them. Teal will generally only land in your decoys about ten percent of the time anyway. They'll usually buzz the decoys before moving on to another part of the lake. Being anatomically correct isn’t vital when it comes to teal.Teal can be the focus of the hunt or a welcome bonus
CALLINGYou can buy a teal whistle, but a wood duck whistle can work too. If you have an aversion to whistling at ducks, your mallard call will work just as well. Teal often flock up with mallards in marshes and will usaully come right into a series of quacks.
As with hunting just about anything, scouting for teal can make a big difference. They're generally not open water ducks. They like shallow, weedy marshes. Find some smartweed, cattails, and wild rice and you will find teal. For some reason, they like mudflats too. Scouting the day before or day of the hunt is key. If a little weather moves in, the birds you saw last week could be hundreds of miles away.
One shooting tip for new teal hunters is to avoid flock shooting. These birds will zip into the decoys at a high rate of speed and it’s tempting to just try to blow holes into the flock. Try to pick out individual birds and aim for the head. A smooth swing and steady lead is also important. A modified choke will give you some room for error while still offering consistent patterns.
One of the great things about teal hunting is that it doesn’t take a lot to knock them down. Teal hunts are perfect for introducing new hunters to duck hunting. A 20 gauge with some 4 shot is perfect for young hunters. Teal are pretty forgiving when it comes to movement in the blind as well. They are usually focused on the decoys and if a youngster gets a little excited they will still get a shot. Have fun out there!