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Starting waterfowl season by hunting teal is an interesting way to begin. Teal hunting is exciting and fun. They are wary birds that you can successfully hunt if you do things the right way. In this article, we discuss how to hunt teal so you can take more teal home during the hunting season.

What is a teal?
A teal is a small freshwater dabbling duck. Teal are members of the family Anatidae with other ducks, geese, and swans. Teal ducks are usually found in marshes, ponds, rivers, swamps, and flooded agricultural fields. Teal ducks have stout necks and short tails.
How To Hunt Teal
How To Hunt Teal

How To Hunt Teal

1. Scouting

Scouting teal involves observing their habitats and behaviors to identify optimal locations for hunting these small waterfowl. Teal are often found in shallow wetlands, marshes, ponds, and flooded agricultural fields during their migration periods.

When scouting, hunters look for areas with abundant food sources such as aquatic vegetation, seeds, and insects, which teal feed on. Additionally, hunters search for flight patterns and roosting sites, paying attention to areas where teal gather in large numbers during early mornings or late afternoons. Scouting can be conducted by observing these areas from a distance, using binoculars or spotting scopes to identify teal activity.

Trail cameras or game cameras can also be utilized to monitor teal movement and activity patterns. By thoroughly scouting teal habitats and gathering pertinent information, hunters can develop effective strategies for hunting teal and increasing their chances of a successful hunt.

2. Decoys

Using decoys is a common and effective tactic for hunting teal, as it helps attract these small waterfowl within shooting range. Teal decoys are typically lightweight and compact, mimicking the appearance of feeding or resting teal on the water’s surface.

Hunters strategically place decoys in shallow water or marshy areas, arranging them in small groups or scattered patterns to simulate the natural behavior of teal. Additionally, motion decoys, such as spinning-wing decoys or fluttering decoys, can be employed to add lifelike movement and further entice teal into the area.

Decoys are often accompanied by calling, with hunters using teal-specific calls to create realistic sounds that complement the decoy spread. By combining decoys with effective calling techniques, hunters can enhance their chances of attracting teal and achieving a successful hunt. However, hunters must adhere to local regulations regarding decoy use and ensure ethical hunting practices to conserve waterfowl populations for future generations.

3. Observe the Weather

Observing the weather is crucial when hunting teal, as it can significantly impact their behavior and movement patterns. Teal are known to be particularly active during periods of favorable weather conditions, such as mild temperatures, low wind speeds, and clear skies.

These conditions encourage teal to fly more freely, feed actively, and provide better visibility for hunters. Conversely, adverse weather conditions, such as strong winds, heavy rain, or extreme temperatures, may cause teal to seek shelter and limit their movement, making hunting more challenging.

Additionally, hunters should pay attention to weather forecasts, as changes in weather patterns can influence teal migration routes and timing. By monitoring the weather closely, hunters can make informed decisions about when and where to hunt teal, maximizing their chances of a successful outing.

Tricks For Hunting Teal
Tricks For Hunting Teal

4. Calling

Making calls to attract teals to your hunting area can be a valuable strategy for enticing these small waterfowl within shooting range. Teal calls are designed to mimic the distinct vocalizations of teal, including their high-pitched quacks and whistles. Hunters typically use duck calls specifically designed for teal, which produce shorter, higher-pitched sounds compared to calls used for larger duck species.

When making calls, hunters aim to replicate the natural vocalizations of teal, incorporating a series of quick, staccato notes to imitate the chatter of teal feeding or socializing. Additionally, hunters can use motion decoys, such as spinning-wing decoys or fluttering decoys, in conjunction with calling to create a more realistic and enticing hunting setup.

By mastering teal calling techniques and using calls strategically, hunters can increase their chances of attracting teal to their hunting area and enjoying a successful hunt. However, hunters need to exercise caution and avoid overcalling, as excessive noise may spook wary teal and deter them from approaching the hunting area. You can learn more duck-hunting strategies from the best duck hunting tips.

5. Move Smoothly

When shooting teal, move the barrel smoothly through the bird up to its head and then pull the trigger. Don’t try to play catch-up with the teal and remain behind hoping to make a shot. Just keep it smooth and follow through.

6. Stand Up the Flock

Don’t wait until the bird is close before you shoot. Instead, shoot the bird at 20 to 30 yards out. This will cause it to stand straight up and this will present easier shots for you and others. Your pattern will be too tight if you wait and shoot around 10 yards. Let someone shoot first to stand up the birds and this will allow you and others the chance to take them one by one.

Tips For Hunting Teal
Tips For Hunting Teal

7. Pick One Target

It is easy to lose focus and get carried away by all of the birds flying acrobatically. Instead, pick out one bird to focus on and take it down. Ignore the rest of the birds that are flying and enjoying their abilities. Don’t make the mistake young teal hunters make. Focus on one bird and take a shot at it.

8. Set Up

Set up with the wind at your back as ducks land with their beaks pointed into the wind. When you set up this way, the birds will be flying toward you making it easier to get a good shot. You can read the best quail hunting tips to learn more strategies to take more quail home if you hunt quail.

9. Know The Laws

There may be hunting laws regarding teal in your state. Make sure you know the laws and abide by them. If you are 16 years or older and hunt migratory waterfowl, you will need a current Federal Duck Stamp or E-Stamp.

Teal Hunting Tips
Teal Hunting Tips

Teal Hunting Tips

1. When scouting for teal, look in swamps, marshes, shallow water with aquatic vegetation, mudflats, rice fields, grass edges, farm ponds, sloughs, and oxbows.

2. Use mallard, spinning-wing, and teal decoys to hunt teal.

Hunting Teal Ideas
Hunting Teal Ideas

3. Be a student of the weather when hunting teal. Monitor the weather regularly before you go hunting. A very slight change in the weather can cause teal to move from one area to another.

4. Make calls to get teal attention and bring them to your decoys and dekes. The blue-wing hen call is one of the popular calls to use when hunting teal.

Ideas For Hunting Teal
Ideas For Hunting Teal

5. Half a dozen up to a dozen decoys is sufficient for hunting teal.

6. You can set up your decoys closer to your ground blind as teal is not the weariest of waterfowls. You can set the decoys about 15 to 20 yards from the ground blind.

7. The best time to hunt teal is in the first hour of shooting light. That is when teal is most active.

Hunting Teal Hacks
Hunting Teal Hacks

8. Most hunters use 20-gauge duck guns with loads of No. 4, 5, or 6 steel.

9. Teal is not as fast as big ducks and they are almost always closer than you think. Don’t overestimate their speed and distance. Shoot right at their bills.

10. Teal flies so tightly together that two or more can be killed with one shot. Shoot the birds at the outside edge of an incoming flock.

Hunting Teal Tricks
Hunting Teal Tricks

11. Set up your decoys early and get in your hunting spot before dawn.

12. Be still and remain quiet when teal starts buzzing at the decoys. Any little movement or sound will alert them and cause them to fly away before you can take a shot.

13. Learn the laws regarding hunting teal.

14. Teal likes shallow water that is less than 2 feet deep with aquatic vegetation that has insects and seeds.

Hunting Teal
Hunting Teal

How do you hunt teal?
You can hunt teal by looking for them in swamps, mudflats, shallow water with vegetation, marshes, farm ponds, etc. Additionally, you can also hunt teal using decoys, and calls.
What time of day is best for teal hunting?
Teal is most active during the first hour of daylight. This is when you want to hunt them. Therefore, be in your hunting spot and have your decoys set up before dawn.
What shot should I use for teal?
You can use No. 4, 5, or 6 steel shots for hunting teal.
Is teal hunting hard?
It is not difficult to hunt teal. With regular hunting strategies like calling and decoys, you can lure them and take them down.
How long does teal fly in the morning?
You can find teal flying in the first 30 to 60 minutes of daylight and then disappear.
Do you need a duck stamp to hunt teal?
If you are 16 years or older and hunt migratory waterfowl, it is required by law that you have a current Federal Duck Stamp or E-Stamp.

The Bottom Line

Hunting teal is fun, exciting, and rewarding. You can put more teal on your dinner table during the hunting season by implementing a few standard hunting strategies like using decoys, calling, scouting, monitoring and planning around the weather, etc.

In this article, we discussed some teal hunting tips to help you put more teal on your dinner table during the waterfowl season. If you hunt doves, the best dove hunting tips shares hunting strategies to help you take more doves home.