Would-be Hoosier teal and Canada goose hunters
are running smack-dab into some dry days, both literally and figuratively.
But there may be help on the way if weather people know of which they speak.
The state is pretty dry right now, but some rain
is expected in the last part of this week. Those who hunt teal can only
hope that there will be enough rain to leave some pools of standing water
in low-lying areas.
If you plan on trying your luck on the surface
waters that are with us most of the year--the farm ponds and small watershed
lakes--consider foremost those that are open. Teal like open waters that
are shallow. They get this preference naturally--they are puddle ducks,
In a telephone check today (September 3, 2007)
Rex Watters, wildlife biologist at Monroe Reservoir, says there are only
about 100 blue and green-wings on the Monroe waterfowl complex, but a few
are being taken. Rex also says there are about 300 Canada honkers there,
mostly all of resident flocks. But they eat just as well as the flight
birds that will be along later. Blue and green-wings are early migrators.
The hunting spots on the flats at Crooked Creek
Area are offering some gunning, but the reservoir is two feet low at this
juncture and it is impossible to launch a boat there. However, by mucking
it a hunter can find a place the tealy birds are using. The same is pretty
much the deal in the North Fork areas, too.
Frankly, I have always had most of my success
with teal hunting and hunting resident Canada Geese on surface waters that
come with good rains. Such areas donít last long--they dry up quickly when
the rain stops--but both teal and Canadas make hay while they remain flooded.
One time, for example, I chanced to drive past
a small flooded field and the teal were having a ball there. Teal have
an inbred love for mud.
Later that same day I secured permission to hunt
the field if I would treat the soybeans gingerly, and was ensconced in
the south brushy fencerow before daylight the next morning for a limit
bag of four blue wings. The second day I did an instant replay and thought
this was next door to heaven. But on the third day it was bone dry. Note:
No need to look for the spot. I have watched it for nearly 20 years and
have never found it right again.
A hunter who does his homework can do roughly
the same thing with resident flocks of geese, but water is not essential.
Resident Canadas seem to smell fresh-cut silage fields from miles away
and often flock to them to feed. A walk through a silage field will tell
you exactly the spot Canadas are using by the lost feathers and droppings.
Most of the time they will be found on a slight rise (hill) in the field,
but look anywhere the silage chopper spills grain and you see good signs.
It would be nice (for the sake of hiding in a
brushy fence row to dry gulch the buggers), but they are wary critters
and feed most often in the middle of fields. Thus, if there are patches
of green weeds nearby, I try to camouflage myself by laying flat on my
back (cardboard strips are good if the ground is damp) and cover up with
green plastic until the birds come. Daylight is good, late afternoon better.
Doves, too, are congregating more and the same
silage fields will host them, Look especially for doves on a higher spot
in the field, and you can hide in the fencerows for them. They use brushy,
wooded fencerows for resting spots, especially trees bare of foliage. Doves
also burn off easily.