Iowa Waterfowlers Celebrate Return of Early Teal Season

Iowa Waterfowlers Celebrate Return of Early Teal Season

Sep 21, 2014

Iowa duck hunters have 16 more reasons to get ready for the season. Iowa’s Natural Resources Commission approved an early teal-only season. The new season is in addition to the regular season dates, which will be set next month after flyway meetings between state waterfowl biologists and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Alan Hancock/DNR waterfowl program technician

Blue-winged teal are a very early migrating species; they come through long before our….not gonna say that….

Bluewinged teal are an early migrating species; and they tend to migrate; the peak of the migration occurs before our regular season opens up. So the US Fish and Wildlife Service is gonna allow production states, which Iowa is a production state, the opportunity to participate in an early season.

Preseason scouting is gonna be very important. Teal like very shallow waters, and you’re gonna have to find a spot that has a lot of teal, and this allows hunters not only to improve their ID skills, but look for places that are not gonna have a lot of nontarget species present.

It’s a 3 year experimental season and Iowa hunters are gonna be evaluated on being able to identify teal and avoid non target species.

In the past, Iowa has split the days allotted by the Fish and Wildlife Service; providing five or six days in September. The intent was to provide hunters a chance to hunt before early migrating blue-winged and green-winged teal left Iowa for warmer climes. Other species, usually locals like mallards and wood ducks, were also fair game.

The September 6-21 season, though, will be teal ONLY. And that’s where an education element enters the equation. Hunters need to identify their targets. Should too many other ducks be taken incidentally, the season will go away after a three year trial. Nearly 5000 Iowa duck hunters were surveyed this past winter; with 69% saying they would hunt during an early teal season

A wide ranging information blast comes later this summer. Videos, fliers and regional introductory sessions are planned; to help hunters identify teal on the wing and where to find them around late summer wetlands.