Thanks to decades of teal population growth, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently announced that it will open an early teal hunting season this September. According to the DNR, hunters will be able to take six teal each day and hunting hours run from sunrise to sunset. Teal are the only birds legal to harvest during the special season, so hunters will have to be careful not to bag any out-of-season waterfowl like wood ducks or mallards.
“The results of [this] experiment will determine if Michigan is allowed to continue the early teal season after the three-year experiment,” said DNR wetland and waterfowl specialist Barbara Avers. “Because of this, hunters are strongly encouraged to brush up on their duck identification skills for this season. Don’t shoot if you aren’t sure of your target.”
According to Times Herald columnist Michael Eckert, the last time Michigan had a teal season was in 1968. At that time, biologists recommended closing the season after it was revealed that too many green-winged teal and non-target ducks were being harvested. To be sure, DNR officials will be keeping a close eye on this season to see if the same occurs again.
The special season will last from September 1 to 7 and to aid hunters not familiar with the species, the DNR will be hosting a workshop in Grand Rapids at the end of August. Many hunters consider teal to be an easy species to decoy, which also helps in identifying the bird. Experts recommend shallow waters like ponds or the coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes as good places to find teal. A map of potential teal hunting opportunities is also available on the DNR’s website.