Louisiana’s 16-day teal season is set to open up next Saturday, Sept. 10 — a day many duck hunters probably circled on their calendars last January when they headed home from their blinds one final time.
It’s a great opportunity to knock the dust off your shotgun and do some warm-weather duck hunting before deer, squirrel, rabbit and quail seasons ramp up later this fall.
Capt. Cody Obiol has guided teal hunts with Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras along the Mississippi River for years, and shared his Top 4 tips to help you knock down more birds starting next weekend.
1. Get your Mojo working.
Obiol said he likes to hunt smaller ponds and shallower holes for teal, so he keeps his decoy spread to a minimum — but he doesn’t leave home without his motorized blue-winged Mojos.
“Mojos are crucial to me for teal season,” Obiol said. “I like two Mojos and about 14 to 16 decoys — that’s what I hunt over just about all of teal season. When it comes to Mojos, blue-wings can’t take it. They love it. I don’t use a Mojo any other time than teal season.”
He also throws out a few more female dekes in his spread.
“Teal don’t have any color this time of year,” he said. “Your female decoys mimic the ducks a lot better than your males do.”
2. Keep your blind simple.
Obiol said he typically doesn’t go overboard with camouflaging and brushing his blind for teal season.
“I try not to get too big with it, because they move so fast — you don’t want grass in your face trying to swing on a teal,” he said. “I usually build mine out of some willow branches, but I don’t really do the whole roseau-thing for teal.
“I don’t find concealment is as important as in duck season. I’ve teal-hunted in a white T-shirt on a last minute swing out there, and they’ll come in. You just want to cover yourself up a little bit and have something you can tuck behind.”
Just make sure whatever brush you choose is green — and will stay that way through the 16-day season, he said.
“You don’t want to bring something dead out there and build a brown blind. You want to make sure everything you’re putting in the ground is green,” Obiol said. “That’s important, because that will stick out if you have a couple of brown bushes against a green background.”
3. Equipment-wise, less is more.
Remember, on most mornings temperatures will start off in the mid-70s and only increase from there, so the lighter you pack clothing-wise and for the hunt the better off you’ll be.
“When it comes to teal hunting, I stay simple,” he said. “I bring a whistle, a teal call, shells and my shotgun. Other than that, I don’t get too crazy with it.
“Just try to stay cool and keep out of the mosquitos, because I think it’s going to be bad this year. I have a feeling it’s going to be an extra-hot one.”
4. Aim at one bird.
Anyone who’s been buzzed by a flock of blue-winged rockets in the marsh knows this one is sometimes hard to do in reality, but Obiol said it’s key to ultimately knocking down more birds and wrapping up your limit.
“People get excited when there are flocks of 10 or so ducks coming in, and they just shoot into the flock,” he said. “The biggest thing is to shoot at one bird. Don’t shoot into the flock and try to drop two or three of them.
“Pick a bird and shoot that one, then go to the next one.”
Teal have already begun arriving in the marshes along the Mississippi River out of Buras, and Obiol said he expects another big push of birds around September’s full moon, which occurs on the 16th.
“That’s when you’ll see a big number change,” he said. “That will be around when the next push comes down, because I don’t see too many cold fronts pushing them down with a north wind.
“But we’re already seeing a good bit of teal — a lot more than I expected right now.”