cool weather Saturday morning found me frustrated by the lack of
water in what in past years was a perfect spot for teal hunting.
I made the mistake of failing to scout ahead of time. I simply drove
out to the big waterhole expecting to find a few early migrating
ducks feeding along the rock, gravel, mud and clay shoreline. The
ducks likely would have been there except for the fact that in order
to make repairing the dam convenient, the water has been released.
teal season is a luxury that possibly ought not to exist. The numbers
of teal don't necessarily justify allowing a special season for
them. But there is a tactical reason for allowing duck hunters to
go out two months early and shoot a teal or two. Those who make
the rules apparently feel the risk of reducing the teal population
and of losing a few ducks of other species to careless or inexperienced
hunters who can't tell a teal from a woodduck, pintail or shoveler
special season probably helps a fair number of hunters make up their
minds to buy their licenses and special duck stamps. The special
season may increase participation in early fall Ducks Unlimited
fund-raisers. It may even motivate many hunters to support the Wildlife
the weather is usually excellent during teal season, a lot of people
take youngsters hunting and expose them to the thrill of seeing
waterfowl in the wild.
season is the perfect time to expose a young retriever to the game
for which it was born. The only pressure comes when picking shots.
Not shooting other species of ducks is the challenge for those who
are quick on the trigger.
wildlife managers and amateur conservationists agree that increasing
the number of hunters is necessary to increase the chance that wildlife
species will continue to exist. Certainly, there are a great many
people today who value wildlife and are interested in seeing that
habitat continues to be available to them. But the percentage of
such people who develop a love of nature and a conservation ethic
without learning to hunt is small.
focused on game species continues to be the surest method of beginning
to develop a broad range of interests in nature. A person who learns
to value hardwood trees because they harbor squirrels, raccoons,
turkey and bear and even ducks in flooded lowlands doesn't stop
caring about timber when he stops hunting.
forest itself becomes the focus. The rich diversity of life in a
natural forest takes on a value that can't be forgotten even by
a citybound ex-hunter. The early teal season is a time to treasure,
a time to share with a youngster or non-hunting adult. It provides
a good reason to get outdoors, a good reason to buy licenses to
help support wildlife management and habitat protection.