Experimental Teal Season in Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin a Success


In 2014, the states of Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin held an experimental teal duck season with authorization from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). With the first-year report concluded, biologists from the three states confirmed that the 2014 season was a great success and may even lead to an early teal season in additional states.

“The early teal season provided Wisconsin hunters with a new opportunity and our first year results give us confidence in promoting this opportunity for hunters’ again next season.” said Kent Van Horn, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory game bird ecologist.

It was the first early teal season in the Upper Midwest since the late 1960s, when biologists recommended closing the season after it became clear that too many teal and other non-target ducks were being harvested. After nearly a half century of recovery, teal populations are up and the USFWS finally gave permission for a special experimental season to be reinstated.

The biggest worry was that hunters would shoot at too many non-target ducks, which would end the three-year experiment early. Trained observers in each state kept an eye on non-teal duck flocks that came within range of hunting parties. According to the observers, only 6.3 percent of those ducks were shot at, which was well below the threshold for non-target ducks set by the USFWS.

“We are very pleased we could provide this early teal season opportunity without significant impact on non-target species, as our Michigan waterfowl hunters demonstrated good sportsmanship and judgment in the field,” said Russ Mason, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division.

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