What so far has been a miserable teal season got a slight boost on Sunday morning after the first cool front of the season pushed through the state over the weekend.
Although reports still haven’t been stellar by any means, it was evident that more birds arrived in Louisiana with the front that came through on Saturday.
“Last weekend was a big deal. Saturday there was a lot of rain and reports were about the same as they’ve been in the past. But Sunday the door opened. There were lots of great reports from a lot of places,” said Larry Reynolds, waterfowl study leader with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “It’s really clear that there was a big movement of birds into the state.”
Of the six birds Reynolds shot this past weekend, he said four were females and two were juveniles, an indication that the migration is progressing. (Typically, females and juveniles are the last birds to leave the breeding grounds in the Dakotas and southern Canada, he said.)
“I think we’re in good shape for the last part of the season, although it’s been a horrible teal season,” he said. “The reports have been worse than poor, especially in southeast Louisiana.”
Capt. Gene Dugas with Rather Be Fishing & Hunting Adventures in Hopedale agreed, and said while he is seeing more birds now, they’re not nearly in the numbers he would expect heading into the final weekend of the season.
“It’s slim. You really gotta be lucky,” Dugas said. “The birds are spotty and if you happen to be where they have a couple of birds that particular day, you might kill a few.
“But it’s really a roll of the dice.”
Dugas said he hunted Monday afternoon and saw some birds, but they didn’t decoy and his group only killed one.
“I’m still working on my first box of shells and the season’s almost over,” Dugas said. “That should tell you right there.”
David Faul with Bin There Hunting in Welsh said the front definitely impacted hunts on Sunday and Monday, but September’s heat and humidity have already returned with a vengeance.
“It picked up for us with the front, but they still aren’t here in the numbers they should be,” Faul said. “We’re still getting some birds, but we’re not limiting.”
A light front pushing through the state today would probably have minimal impact, Faul said.
“They’re supposed to have a little front tonight and that might make it good for a day or two, but I don’t foresee the teal season being what we’re used to,” he said.
In talking to a colleague in the midwest who enjoyed a stellar teal hunt this weekend in Kansas, Reynolds said the good news is there are still birds to the north that haven’t arrived in Louisiana yet. The big question is if they’ll arrive in time for the close of the Louisiana season on Sunday.
But Reynolds said your odds are good to see more teal this weekend than you have in the previous two.
“This weekend is going to be better because there are more teal in the marshes, and you have a better chance of encountering those birds and having a decent time,” Reynolds said. “I absolutely think that if you were okay going out on opening weekend, you definitely should be going out this weekend.”