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Teal decoys

Discussion in 'Decoy Forum' started by CJ MN Waterfowl, Jul 13, 2021.

  1. Rick Hall

    Rick Hall Elite Refuge Member

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    I'd think being the first spread birds see an impossible dream for most of us. More likely, we can only do our best to trip their trigger to check us out, in spite of how explosive their first stop(s) may have been: be that through particularly favorable location, particularly attractive decoys, particularly attractive calling or a combination thereof.

    Location always was and likely always will be king, but in the days before spinners, the "tricks" to drawing teal to spots they otherwise tended to bypass were relatively large big duck decoy spreads and kacking by voice, which was much louder than the "teal" calls of the time, to help draw attention to them. (My parties' numerically top 16 day September teal season came during that time: 488 mostly blue-wings.)

    Spinners generally eliminated the need for big spreads to help garner attention - providing that the birds can see them. Which is why bigger, more visible spinners offer more draw from distance. Have heard it argued that the higher speed of dove and teal spinner wings offers special attraction, but certainly haven't seen it when one or the other of either was in use along with a bigger one. And the hard-wired spinners at my permanent morning blind being on a rheostat ('77 Dodge truck dash light dimmer switch) has given me far more than ample opportunity to observe that while birds do, in fact, prefer them at relatively high speeds in good light, they're far more visible and attractive turning about as slowly as they'll kick over in dim post LST light.

    And while I'm being windy, I'll suggest that the OP add the loudest teal call he can find to his rig and not be afraid to really lean on it. Not only can one draw teal a goodly distance to one without visual attraction, but a call can help keep the birds interested in a rig they'd otherwise look at and pass on for any of a number of reasons.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  2. Tuleman

    Tuleman Elite Refuge Member

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    While this might be true with bluebills or pintails, I don't generally find teal sitting on big water.
    At least where I hunt teal, they fly about three feet above the emergent vegetation...so a spread is not very visible to them until they are right on it..... and tend to plunk down with little to no hesitation. For me, location is key, decoys are secondary. YRMV

    EDIT: have to agree with Hall on his post about the first spread birds see.
     
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  3. wingsandwater

    wingsandwater Senior Refuge Member

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    I don't disagree with this at all. Not only am I handicapped being in the Atlantic but the vast majority of our WMA's are daily lottery blinds. With that the case, a good proper set decoy spread with high visibility is just as important as location because the state dictates exactly were we hunt. We have to convince the birds to come to us as we can't go to them. Again, unique to my area.

    We shoot teal in small ditches when they're burning below the grass line. That's what I envision with teal hunting here. That said, when the tide drops and the ditches start emptying, big water low tide flats can give you some fun shoots.
     
  4. Rick Hall

    Rick Hall Elite Refuge Member

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    Would that it were unique to your area, but the country's full of places teal don't want to be, my morning blind's little mud hole being one of them. Been going there daily in season and frequently prior to for 14 years and have never moved a teal out of it. (Have jumped big ducks there just seven times over those years, and never when I didn't have decoys out.) Not that teal don't fly over our marsh, drop to check it out and even naturally settle in other, more attractive to them portions of it, just that my little pothole surrounded by floating turf prairie apparently doesn't appear attractive to them.

    Teal are far and away more apt to fly low over or settle into more broken marsh well away from my blind, so getting seen at all calls for big, fairly high spinners and clearing a lot tall vegetation that might still block line of sight to them from flight lines the low birds favor. And when high birds are broken down over my spot by the spinners and/or calling, their power dives carry them over more attractive water they'll much more often than not then follow on off to points elsewhere unless drawn back around by raucous calling I'd guess most would think nuts - until they see it work:


    (Little camera muted, and distorted a bit, a very loud call a very few inches from its mic. But cadence and timing I, at least, would once have thought counterproductive are clear enough.)
     
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  5. Bullet21XD

    Bullet21XD Elite Refuge Member

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    You guys way overthink your teal hunting!
     
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  6. Rick Hall

    Rick Hall Elite Refuge Member

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    If what you're doing tolls 'em all, stick with it.
     
  7. Rubberhead

    Rubberhead Elite Refuge Member

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    When this thread started I expected a lot of linear answers from one-dimensional hunters. Here are some other considerations:

    Are your September bluewing migrating or staging? If they’re actively migrating, they’re probably not interested in loading up on food and having to carry the extra weight as they migrate. They might, however, be interested in rest, a drink of fresh water and some similar company for protection from predators.

    If they’re staging, which they will do in fits-and-starts as they head south, they will actively feed and they prefer emergent vegetation usually headed in some sort of seed. If you have access to such a place and teal that are in the right mood, you’ve got a gold mine. Bluewing will stage for weeks along my southeastern coastal haunts but onces a tropical storm threatens, they get serious about migrating and tactics have to change.

    Mallards and pintail checkout a decoy spread by circling from up high before deciding if conditions are to their liking. Bluewing inspect decoy spreads by buzzing right over the top of them at near top speed. If they see what they’re looking for they’ll break formation and drop like so many wet dishrags into the spread or make a circle and comeback to land into the wind like real ducks.

    Having bluewing teal decoys will way increase the odds that a group of bluewings lands on the initial pass or comes back to land. A bunch of orange-beaked mallard hen decoys are not nearly as likely to create a landing party out of a group of teal that just buzzed. It's easy to test this by putting out two clusters of decoys - one eclipse bwt and the other something like mallard hens.

    A large group of teal hunters, becuase they have so many sets of eyes looking, will usually see approaching bluewings and get their shooting in on the first buzz. These hunters claim that any sort of decoy will work for teal and, in a way, they’re right. But they are only right because they got their shooting in on what turn out to be uninterested teal.

    I hunt alone so many times I got buzzed from behind and was not able to get a shot off. I have had to learn over time that by switching to eclipse bluewing decoys, I could get the flock to circle back or land on the first pass.

    I don’t have access to private property but many of the rivers I hunt have private impounds, sometimes on both sides of the river. Depending on rain, summer growth and the stage teal are in they use these wet fields to feed. I learned to decoy flocks of teal in 20 foot of open water as they traded back and forth across the river if I offered bluewing teal decoys for them to look at. My “bluewing batting average” is way, way better than it was when I was trying to make intereseted in wigeon and mallard hens.

    My hat’s off to anyone who has killed hundreds of September bluewing in suitable habitat over brown-blob decoys. But, that being said, if these guys can’t cause a dozen bluewing to land in 20 foot of moving water, they probably shouldn’t be offering advice to someone who only has access to 20 foot of open, moving water.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Rubberhead

    Rubberhead Elite Refuge Member

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    BTW - I kill bluewings in December too...

    [​IMG]

    I call this one "Bluewings"...

    [​IMG]

    I call this one "Yellow Feet"...it was an afternoon hunt and after killing these two I tried really hard to add a yellow-footed woodduck drake but didn't get it done...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Rick Hall

    Rick Hall Elite Refuge Member

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    Made me smile over how much experience can differ, as I started September teal hunting on the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, and still have some G&H teal decoys strung with 36' of line to accommodate their depth and current. And that's where I learned I did much better with bigger, more visible decoys than G&H's dark little teal. (My teal call in those days was a Wingsetter whistle, so our success, or not, was very much on the decoys.) Not that CJM asked for advice on tolling teal to 20 feet of open, moving water.

    Have also done more than a little experimentation with species separation, as an early South Louisiana mentor was sold on the notion that everything (ie: big ducks, as well) would, in fact, home in on teal separated from other species. And the first time I hunted Lacassine NWR with Butch, that sure seemed the case, and I thought I'd learned a neat trick. Just didn't hold up well over time - in my own experience with it. Only reason I'll mix teal decoys into a spread these days is the impression that the size differences add to the illusion of life from distance. Well, that, and to keep the deep thinkers from believing the reason we're not seeing any teal on a bad morning is not using teal decoys.

    Re: whacking away at teal's first pass, it's probably a safe bet that most duck hunters whack away at everything they think might be close enough's first pass. And that, not their decoys, is what spoils their chances for decoying birds. Guys get it in their heads that teal won't work, because they're too afraid of missing a chance to shoot to give working teal a fair shot and learn that it's really no great trick to get the little jewels to land. For which a lot of folks near the ends of our sport's 8 to 88 age scale have been plainly thankful.
     
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  10. Bullet21XD

    Bullet21XD Elite Refuge Member

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    I'm with Rubberhead on this! If i'm teal hunting, i'm using teal decoys!! Visibility from a distance is not a factor, as i'm generally in tighter quarters. In a bigger water mallard spread, i'll always have a handfull of teal along the bank.

    Whether in close quarters hunting or wide open, my experience is that both BWT and GWT almost always target and land amongst teal decoys. Cinnamons...that's a whole other beast!
     

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