Early migrators are starting to show with sporadic reports of Canada geese in Maine, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and blue-winged teal reports trickling in south of the Delaware River.
Weather has certainly played a factor as temperatures dropped this week and heavy thunder and windstorms lashed the east. Still, with an exceptionally dry summer by all reports water levels remain low.
“Typical swamps aren’t holding water,” said Kenny Gray, an Avery Pro Staffer out of Chestertown, Maryland. “But with the heavy rain we should have some new pockets of water – flooded grasslands and fields.”
The seasonally dry conditions seems to be concentrating ducks around established watering holes. In eastern Connecticut, a raft of 50 to 100 wood ducks was spotted on a forest pond that usually holds no more than a few dozen ducks this time of year. Abundant acorns are also a factor.
In the mid-Atlantic and southern states, early teal season is underway, except Florida where the combined four-day teal and wood duck window opens Saturday.
Early Teal Season At a Glance
|Maryland||Sept. 17 to Sept. 29|
|Delaware||Sept. 12 to Sept. 29|
|Virginia||Sept. 17 to Sept. 29|
|North Carolina||Sept. 8 to Sept. 26|
|South Carolina||Sept. 15 to Sept. 30|
|Georgia||Sept. 8 to Sept. 23|
|Florida||Sept. 22 to Sept. 26|
By all accounts, the teal hunting has been hit or miss. “Guys are either limiting out or not firing a shot,” Gray said.
Doug Howell, state waterfowl biologist, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission agreed. “I’m starting to hear reports of guys finding them in the eastern part of the state. Generally there’s a good push of blue-wings in the state managed areas, for the most part, but it’s sporadic. Some guys will limit one day and then not see any birds the next.” The J. Morgan Futch and Goose Creek Game Lands have both produced birds and good hunts recently, he said.
“These birds move through so fast, so quickly, you really need to be in the right place at the right time,” Howell said.