Last week I mentioned it was time to start shooting a couple rounds of skeet a week between now and the dove opener if you want to keep from being embarrassed by little gray birds in front of your friends on Sept. 1.
If that wasn't incentive enough, the teal limit is going up from four to six in states that are allowed a September teal season. The USFWS breeding population estimates released earlier this month show teal numbers are strong enough to justify the increased bag limit. The report says:
"Blue-winged teal estimated abundance is 7.7 million. Although this is 16 percent below the 2012 estimate of 9.2 million, the blue-wing population is 60 percent above the long-term average. Similarly, the green-winged teal estimate of 3.1 million is 12 percent below last year but still 51 percent above their long-term average."
Because blue-wings are among the earliest migrants and frequently have made it to Texas or Nicaragua by the time regular duck seasons open, the FWS allows special early teal-only seasons. This year the limit is six for the first time since the teal seasons began in the 60s. That means lots more shooting if you get into birds, and lots and lots more shells burned if you don't start getting yourself on target now.
Unless your dove and teal guns are one and the same, it's time to get both out to the skeet field or, better yet, the sporting clays course. Teal fly as unpredictably as any bird and the variety of a round of sporting clays targets should help you be ready for anything when the season opens.
There aren't many better sounds in the outdoors than the "whoosh" of a bunch of teal coming over your head from behind. It's enough to make almost anyone come unglued if you're not ready for it.
CC image from Flickr