Cool fronts made for more challenging teal season

(Photo by Darren Digby)
(Photo by Darren Digby)

As Louisiana’s early teal season wrapped up, there was no shortage of pots simmering with freshly taken birds, hot off their annual migration.

The season will be remembered by the unusually pleasant weather for many of the 16 hunting days thanks to three cool fronts that brought dry, stout, northerly winds and abnormally low morning temperatures. As ideal as that may seem, the reality is that such seemingly ideal weather can make for more challenging hunting with September teal merely passing through en route to points much to the south of the Bayou State.

Agricultural lands

It was mostly business as usual in the rice country of southwest Louisiana. Haiden Richard with Southern Parish Outdoors (337-230-8157) again enjoyed an extremely productive opening weekend, and the hunting, for the most part, remained strong in the Gueydan area’s agricultural lands. Richard’s only complaint was that fronts seemed to push out more birds than they brought in, making for a few slow mornings despite the comfortable weather.

“Overall it was a great season, even if not quite as consistently strong as last year,” he said. “We held plenty of birds before the season opened, but those cool fronts seemed to mostly hurt us more than help.”

Richard noted that on some of the slower mornings, a return trip to the same blind in the afternoon proved to be the ticket, something other hunters also observed when the birds seemed to wise up to the morning pressure.

“Despite that middle weekend being slow for about everyone around here, it picked back up in the second week, and we did pretty well through the closing Sunday, even if it took going in the afternoons,” he said. “Without those fronts coming through, we probably do as well or better than last year.”

I was able to close out my season with a strong hunt in the freshwater marshes near Klondike with Doug’s Hunting Lodge (337-536-7902). Teal season guests there saw many of the same ups and downs related to the cool fronts but overall had a productive couple of weeks.

A different story in the southeast

On the east end, it was tough sledding around Delacroix, where very few teal were encountered on most hunts. Success as a whole was spotty at best. The few bright spots were pastures flooded by Hurricane Ida’s rains, as well as areas down the Mississippi River where habitat seemed to weather the storm better than was expected. Based on several reports, the area from Pointe a la Hache down toward Venice held the majority of southeast Louisiana’s birds, much like last year.

Around Lake Pontchartrain, including Big Branch NWR along with Pearl River WMA, reports of success were also few and far between. Unlike the 2020 season, tide levels remained fairly normal, save for the middle weekend as the remnants of Hurricane Nicholas stalled out and ultimately dissipated over the region, bringing persistent easterly winds.

Even if it made for some challenges, the early season cool fronts brought in additional species like pintails and shovelers, and a seemingly above-average number of green-winged teal mixed in. Given much of our flyway is experiencing varying degrees of drought, the early season cool fronts may bode well for Louisiana hunters waiting for waterfowl seasons to arrive in November.

About Darren Digby 69 Articles
Darren Digby has been hunting and fishing the marshes of Southeast Louisiana since childhood. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife Ella.