If you didn’t get to go teal hunting the past two weekends, don’t worry about it. Apparently, it was no big teal… I mean, deal.
The number of teal in the state was the lowest in recent years, mostly due to drought conditions and extremely warm temperatures. The second weekend was a bit better for some folks, but most didn’t do real well. I spoke with state Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds and he said that the main effort on counting birds was in the Catahoula Lake and southern coastal areas. Last week’s aerial estimates of birds showed about 50,000 teal in those areas, compared to an estimated 190,000 the year before. That’s a 74% DECREASE in the number of birds. In north Louisiana there were no surveys, frankly, because there wasn’t enough water to survey. Some hunters had good success, but Reynolds said the numbers from hunter surveys on state wildlife management areas pretty well summed up the story.
The official numbers? There were 950 hunters checked who harvested 664 teal. That’s .07 teal per hunter. I thought hitting a whole teal at full speed zipping over the decoys was hard, but hitting .07 of a teal. Now you have to be as good a shot as Little George to do that.
Oh well. Here’s the good news. We will get water and numbers of migrating ducks will come. With a later season, it’s just a matter of time. Patience.