Teal hunting in Texas is always hit or miss for hunters. And depending on the day, there can be a lot more missing than hitting—and I am not talking about the numbers of birds. The 2010 teal season has been average for blue-winged teal along the Texas coast with a good amount of rain and only a splash of cool weather. Texas duck hunting reports showed that hunting slowed as a whole on the prairies and marshes since a lack of much-needed cool fronts failed to bring new birds into the area.
Many waterfowl hunters did report better flights of teal early this week, probably due to the upcoming full moon. Unofficial harvest reports indicate more hens have arrived, giving rise to the notion the first wave of birds, which is almost always mostly adult drakes, have moved south and passed right through. As a rule of thumb, the majority of adult teal drakes migrate first, then hens that did not raise a brood, then hens with their first-year.
Most bluewings are in drab plumage this early in the season, but hens and drakes can be distinguished by their chevrons (wing patches) and their “butts.” Males will have a solid white chevron while females will have broken blotches of brown that breaks up the white on the wing. Flip the birds over on their backs and males will have black feathers on their butts and hens will be drab brown, like the bulk of their body.
Teal season ends at sunset on September 26 and the regular duck season opens up on October 30 in both the North and South zones. Prospects are fair to good, especially for the lucky guys with good waterfowl habitat, so oil up your guns and lock and load!