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November 09, 2010

Bourjaily's Favorite Ducks

By Phil Bourjaily

As Dave DiBenedetto pointed out last week in the "Man's Best Friend" blog, there are other hunting seasons going on right now besides deer season – not that you would know it to look at this site. For instance, it’s duck season in Iowa. While everyone else is up in a tree I get to play in the mud. The green wing teal have arrived as they do every year in early November. They are, perhaps, my favorite waterfowl species.

I like a fat late season mallard or Canada as much as the next guy but until those northern birds arrive, greenwings are too much fun to hunt. They are plentiful, fast, tasty, nice to look at, and not particularly bright – all good qualities in a duck. Greenwings congregate in very shallow water to feed, often in large numbers. My favorite way to hunt them is to sleep in (all my favorite ways to hunt involve sleeping in), then find a concentration of teal, flush them, and throw out a few decoys. Usually I don’t have to wait long until they start coming back, first in two and threes, then by the flock. More often than not, the first ducks reappear before I’m finished setting up. Then it’s just a question of hiding in the weeds, shooting straight, and hoping I brought enough shells.

By the way, if there was a record book for teal, the drake at the top of the bunch would qualify – it weighed within a few hundredths of an ounce of a full pound, which is gigantic for a green wing, and its plumage is perfec t. If I were the type to mount ducks, it would be at the taxidermist. As it is, we cooked it with the others and it tasted as good as it looked. Since this is a blog about guns I should mention that the Benelli M2 in the picture is the gun I wrote about last year when I picked it up after someone foolishly traded it and another brand new Benelli for a Matthews Reezen at my local sporting goods store. I bought it because it was too good a deal to pass up, and since then it has grown on me. It is light and handy, it doesn’t kick too badly with reasonable loads* it works even if you get mud, blood and feathers all over it and inside it. - Bourjaily

Comments (23)

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from Sayfu wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

You bought a good gun, and the safety is even in the right place!!!..unlike some of the Benelli's! Take a few crossing shots on Teal, and it can humble you. Definitely a fine duck, but for me in the overall scheme of things, I like the Greenhead. I like my duck burgers, and the breast on the Greenhead is bigger, and I acquire the CDC feathers on the Greenheads that are superior for fly tying. But it is nice to get some lesser bagged ducks once in awhile like the Gadwall's, and the Teal I bag once in awhile. They also have unique feathers for fly tying.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony C. wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Those greenwings sure are pretty. We don't get many of them here in northeast Alabama. In a lifetime of Alabama duck hunting, I've killed just about every other species of duck but no greenwings.

They come through, but they're usually gone by the time our season starts in December.

We've shot plenty of bluewings in September.

The divers -- canvasbacks, bluebills and goldeneyes -- have been my favorites the last few years, but there's nothing quite like a good greenhead shoot with maybe a few woodies mixed in.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Teal: Fly too fast. Think they're loafing at 60 mph. Love creamed teal on toast w/home fries for breakfast.
Slurp.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from finch147 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Stop telling the deer hunters to get out of the trees. They can stay up there and swing around in the breeze for all I care. Duck hunting is where it is at. My duck commander beard is coming in nicely for the late season which starts thursday in CT. No greenwings up here anymore, now we get a chance at the fat mallards you were talking about. When the ducks leave for good squrriel hunting still beats deer hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I was priviledged to take a greenwing teal last year and it looks great on my wall. It's always a tough call for me when both ducks and deer are in season, although a good compromise is ducks in the morning and deer in the afternoon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mutt wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

this weekend I should of brought pheasant load and a dog instead of the slug gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ilikehunting wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I love hunting teal. I had a group of about 15 come in directly over my head and it sounded like a jet engine. They fly so fast. Taste great too.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Took the big black dawg out this weekend and he was in seventh heaven after me being gone hunting in Colorado for two weeks. I feel a cough coming on for tomorrow, hack , hack....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Phil, would you scare some of those greenwings south to mid-Missouri for us? Our opening weekend saw warm temperatures, a south wind and nothing but spoonbills, otherwise known as Hollywood Mallards. As far as eating goes, teal get my vote. My old lab loves to get out and go but can't figure out why no one shoots. After a couple of hours, he's laid up in the back corner of the blind, snoring peacefully, waiting for lunchtime.

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from Nolan wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Teal have just about left here:(

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Teal are my favorite eating duck. Once shot three out of a small flock with 1 shot. Few years back took a rare (in this area) Cinnamon teal and a drake
canvasback.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

SO NICE to see the ducks get a little love here! GWT are tied with pintail in my book for best-eating duck around, and bonus points, you can roast 'em whole in a toaster oven, the perfect single-serving duck.

But for some reason we haven't seen a lot of them in our first three weekends of the season here in NorCal - at least not where I hunt. Been plucking so many big birds lately I wouldn't mind a nice easy teal or two in the bag. (LOL, how's that for a problem?)

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from guncrazy74 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

WOW there is a post from a hunter not some fancy doodad they put in some New York office! So thats where the greenwings are! Down here in Missouri we had our opener for the middle zone this weekend and nary a greenwing in sight Saturday. Last year it was the first bird I shot. I did see a flock of what I was sure were teal sunday morning but one of the guys I was hunting with started that crazy fast feed chuckle for mallards that I have never heard any live duck do and they disappeared. Cant convince them to just sit quiet or peep once on a whistle and they come right in. Just lucky they don't highball every duck we see LOL By the by Phil find a good taxidermist who is close and you can mount your duck and eat it too!!! {all the dispersions cast towards Marie Antionette were not only implied but intended... see dealer for details}

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Who DO the firearms manufacturers hire to come up with those incredibly ugly stocks with trigger guards that can actually make one puke?...Blough!

Basic guard styles as worn by the 03 Springfield and 1917 Enfield have yet to be improved upon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

My favorite duck is the one surrounded by wild rice with garlic mashed potatoes and hot gravy on the side. A wood duck or greenhead that's been gorging on acorns is hard to top.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Wingshooter54, my favorite duck is one that's been gorging on domestic rice, but I suppose being surrounded by it would be good too...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

kudukid...The design is a sore thumb to me as well, BUT, they are designed that way to accommodate a gloved finger..the hole is bigger. The one on his M-2 doesn't look all that weird to me like the new Benelli Vinci.

UT

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Tom Tom --
I scared plenty of teal the other day. I have no control over where they go after I shoot at them, though.

NorCal Cazadora --
Glad to see you back on the Gun Nuts. I am insanely envious of your 107-day duck season and your cinnamon teal, which might even be prettier than green wings.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Cut my teeth on a 20 ga M12 Win, crawling along the banks of Keechi Creek jump shooting "squealers". There was the occasional "green head" that offered their tail feathers for my hat.
For you "non-ETexans", a squealer is a "Wood Duck"!

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

i have to split my time between birds and deer for my dog's sake. haven't seen any teal here yet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Thanks, Phil! Our generous duck season is my favorite time of year, all the better because I teach for a living and my winter break covers the last six weeks of season. The only thing luckier would be not having to work for a living at all.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I agree with "Kudukid", and please don't put a picture of a gun this ugly in front of again.
stick with the beautiful guns we have.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ScottyBee wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Man, I never forget about duck season. Deer season still comes first but I always get in on a little duck hunting every year. It's a little kick back time with the boys, I love it. I really love those Duck Commander DVD's. Bought one from www.duckcommander.com a few weeks ago and it was awesome!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Sayfu wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

You bought a good gun, and the safety is even in the right place!!!..unlike some of the Benelli's! Take a few crossing shots on Teal, and it can humble you. Definitely a fine duck, but for me in the overall scheme of things, I like the Greenhead. I like my duck burgers, and the breast on the Greenhead is bigger, and I acquire the CDC feathers on the Greenheads that are superior for fly tying. But it is nice to get some lesser bagged ducks once in awhile like the Gadwall's, and the Teal I bag once in awhile. They also have unique feathers for fly tying.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony C. wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Those greenwings sure are pretty. We don't get many of them here in northeast Alabama. In a lifetime of Alabama duck hunting, I've killed just about every other species of duck but no greenwings.

They come through, but they're usually gone by the time our season starts in December.

We've shot plenty of bluewings in September.

The divers -- canvasbacks, bluebills and goldeneyes -- have been my favorites the last few years, but there's nothing quite like a good greenhead shoot with maybe a few woodies mixed in.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Teal: Fly too fast. Think they're loafing at 60 mph. Love creamed teal on toast w/home fries for breakfast.
Slurp.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from finch147 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Stop telling the deer hunters to get out of the trees. They can stay up there and swing around in the breeze for all I care. Duck hunting is where it is at. My duck commander beard is coming in nicely for the late season which starts thursday in CT. No greenwings up here anymore, now we get a chance at the fat mallards you were talking about. When the ducks leave for good squrriel hunting still beats deer hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I was priviledged to take a greenwing teal last year and it looks great on my wall. It's always a tough call for me when both ducks and deer are in season, although a good compromise is ducks in the morning and deer in the afternoon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mutt wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

this weekend I should of brought pheasant load and a dog instead of the slug gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ilikehunting wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I love hunting teal. I had a group of about 15 come in directly over my head and it sounded like a jet engine. They fly so fast. Taste great too.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Took the big black dawg out this weekend and he was in seventh heaven after me being gone hunting in Colorado for two weeks. I feel a cough coming on for tomorrow, hack , hack....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Phil, would you scare some of those greenwings south to mid-Missouri for us? Our opening weekend saw warm temperatures, a south wind and nothing but spoonbills, otherwise known as Hollywood Mallards. As far as eating goes, teal get my vote. My old lab loves to get out and go but can't figure out why no one shoots. After a couple of hours, he's laid up in the back corner of the blind, snoring peacefully, waiting for lunchtime.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nolan wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Teal have just about left here:(

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Teal are my favorite eating duck. Once shot three out of a small flock with 1 shot. Few years back took a rare (in this area) Cinnamon teal and a drake
canvasback.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from guncrazy74 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

WOW there is a post from a hunter not some fancy doodad they put in some New York office! So thats where the greenwings are! Down here in Missouri we had our opener for the middle zone this weekend and nary a greenwing in sight Saturday. Last year it was the first bird I shot. I did see a flock of what I was sure were teal sunday morning but one of the guys I was hunting with started that crazy fast feed chuckle for mallards that I have never heard any live duck do and they disappeared. Cant convince them to just sit quiet or peep once on a whistle and they come right in. Just lucky they don't highball every duck we see LOL By the by Phil find a good taxidermist who is close and you can mount your duck and eat it too!!! {all the dispersions cast towards Marie Antionette were not only implied but intended... see dealer for details}

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Who DO the firearms manufacturers hire to come up with those incredibly ugly stocks with trigger guards that can actually make one puke?...Blough!

Basic guard styles as worn by the 03 Springfield and 1917 Enfield have yet to be improved upon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

My favorite duck is the one surrounded by wild rice with garlic mashed potatoes and hot gravy on the side. A wood duck or greenhead that's been gorging on acorns is hard to top.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Wingshooter54, my favorite duck is one that's been gorging on domestic rice, but I suppose being surrounded by it would be good too...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

kudukid...The design is a sore thumb to me as well, BUT, they are designed that way to accommodate a gloved finger..the hole is bigger. The one on his M-2 doesn't look all that weird to me like the new Benelli Vinci.

UT

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Tom Tom --
I scared plenty of teal the other day. I have no control over where they go after I shoot at them, though.

NorCal Cazadora --
Glad to see you back on the Gun Nuts. I am insanely envious of your 107-day duck season and your cinnamon teal, which might even be prettier than green wings.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Cut my teeth on a 20 ga M12 Win, crawling along the banks of Keechi Creek jump shooting "squealers". There was the occasional "green head" that offered their tail feathers for my hat.
For you "non-ETexans", a squealer is a "Wood Duck"!

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

i have to split my time between birds and deer for my dog's sake. haven't seen any teal here yet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I agree with "Kudukid", and please don't put a picture of a gun this ugly in front of again.
stick with the beautiful guns we have.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ScottyBee wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Man, I never forget about duck season. Deer season still comes first but I always get in on a little duck hunting every year. It's a little kick back time with the boys, I love it. I really love those Duck Commander DVD's. Bought one from www.duckcommander.com a few weeks ago and it was awesome!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

SO NICE to see the ducks get a little love here! GWT are tied with pintail in my book for best-eating duck around, and bonus points, you can roast 'em whole in a toaster oven, the perfect single-serving duck.

But for some reason we haven't seen a lot of them in our first three weekends of the season here in NorCal - at least not where I hunt. Been plucking so many big birds lately I wouldn't mind a nice easy teal or two in the bag. (LOL, how's that for a problem?)

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Thanks, Phil! Our generous duck season is my favorite time of year, all the better because I teach for a living and my winter break covers the last six weeks of season. The only thing luckier would be not having to work for a living at all.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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