• 79°

Moon, fronts factors for teal opener

The early teal season kicks off Saturday and runs through Sept. 27.

The daily bag on teal remains six, with a possession limit of 18, which is up over the last few years from the standard bag of four.

“Blue-winged teal numbers (8.5 million) are way above the minimum of 4.7 million needed for a 16-day season,” said Kevin Kraai, TPWD waterfowl program leader. “Conditions for teal across the state are excellent and hunters are urged to have their fingers crossed for a timely migration in the middle of September.”

According to the Ducks Unlimited interactive migration tracker, there were few teal in local marshes or in East Texas at the time of his writing on Monday. J. Harris reported “Hundreds of gadwall but no blue-winged teal” in the High Island area.

Another report from Lake Livingston showed a hunter scouting and finding one teal and a bunch of wood ducks. Reports from Oklahoma showed few teal as well.

Teal migrate in response to small cold fronts and most heavily on a full moon, which could make things interesting this month. The full moon is not until the 27th this month, with Saturday’s opener falling on a new (dark) moon.

A cold front could, however, help things and bring in some blue wings to local marshes and fields. The National Weather Service reports a front will hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area heavily by Wednesday and us a little later. That is good news for Saturday’s opener.

Hunters need to be prepared legally for the opener. Obviously a hunting license is needed, but so is a federal duck stamp.   

In addition to a hunting license, anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education training course or purchase a one-time deferral good for one license year in order to hunt legally in Texas. The certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states and provinces. More information on hunter education certification is available online at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/outdoor-learning/hunter-education.

A Migratory Game Bird endorsement and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are also required to hunt teal according to officials with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year’s migratory bird hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased.

If the person selling your license does not ask you the HIP questions about harvest, then tell them to do it. I had to do that when I got my license. It is important legally and to gather information on waterfowl taken by hunters.

Have fun out there this weekend, and remember snakes and alligators will be present. Look for snakes before you sit in the blind, and make sure there are no gators prowling when you send out your dog.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at chester@kingdomzoo.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and klvi.com.)