It’s not who you are, it’s where you are. And on what day you are there. That pretty much sums up the first days of Louisiana’s 2022 teal season.
“Honestly, there was some great hunting on opening day followed by poor days for some. And then it was exactly the opposite for others,” said Jason Olszak, Waterfowl Program Manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Some guys limited out and some shot zeroes and it was pretty much the same around the state. I guess the best way to describe it overall is ‘average’ because it wasn’t real bad and it wasn’t real good. We are still early in the migration and there’s a lot more time to push more birds down, especially by the November season. If I had to pick the best spot, I’d say it was the southwest parishes. They did pretty good.”
It almost sounds like duck hunting, doesn’t it?
A great place
One hunter who found the hunting on opening morning was Zach Gassie of Addis. He and his hunting friends hunted in a pond area outside Eunice and while things started a little slow at daybreak, they picked up in a hurry.
“As daybreak came, we were getting in one or two at first, then a few bigger groups started to show up,” he said. “But soon, we had some really big groups and we had 36 teal in about an hour of shooting. It was a great place. A great hunt and great times.”
Gassie and his friends had sprayed the lillies in the middle of the pond a couple of weeks ago where they were going hunt because they were so thick there was no place for the teal to land. They opened up a couple of pockets and that’s where the teal headed.
There were a lot of factors leading to the the success of their hunt. There was plenty of water and vegetation and there were quite a few birds in the area. When people started shooting in the rice fields, lots of teal started heading to spots like where he was hunting.
One hunter who is hunting every day of the teal season is Dale Bordelon of Effie. He reports the same thing.
“Opening weekend it wasn’t so good, but man it has picked up and we are having some good hunts,” Bordelon said. We’ve hunted over in Avoyelles Parish and then over in Jennings. I’m going back up to central Louisiana closer to home soon. There’s a bunch of teal moving and even though we aren’t limiting out every day, we are getting four, five, six apiece. It’s a good season.”
Nobody enjoys the teal season more than Bordelon, and one reason is he still preserves the past and mixes it with the present. He hunts with his old Winchester 1897, hand-carved cypress root decoys and his own hand-made bamboo teal call.
Birds started moving
Olszak reported the best overall shooting in the southwestern portions of the state, but it wasn’t every day he said.
“Some folks got one or two on opening day, then got a limit the next day or so,” he said. “Success increased as people started hunting and the birds started moving around.”
Overall, after opening day, there weren’t many zeroes in that part of the state.
One area that had surprising results was the Catahoula Lake area. The lake was high from recent rains and the vegetation was almost all covered up. In the recent aerial survey, there weren’t even enough birds there to count. But when the birds started flying, they started looking for more wa-ter and that’s what they found there.”
Teal season success is more than just the birds, he said. Of course you have to have teal, but the guys that put in some work, didn’t get impatient and leave too early and shot well, they had success, he said.
“Nobody wants to hear it, but it’s the truth. It was literally hit and miss,” he said. “Take that any way you want to. I’d expect it to be that way through the special teal season.
The 2022 season runs from September 10-25 for blue-winged, green-winged and cinnamon teal with a limit of six per hunter.
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