Michigan –-(Ammoland.com)- 2016 marks the third and final year of Michigan’s experimental early teal hunting season, which runs Sept. 1-7. These small ducks, especially blue-winged teal, are some of the earliest duck species to migrate each fall.
This statewide teal-only season is possible because of growing teal populations. Hunters may take up to six teal per day and hunt from sunrise to sunset.
Accurate identification of ducks is essential, because only teal are legal to harvest during this special season. It is important for hunters to understand that the season is experimental for three years, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is required to measure the attempts and harvest of non-target species to make sure hunters are harvesting teal and not other species of ducks, such as wood ducks and mallards.
“The 2014 experimental early teal hunting season was a great success. Hunters, for the most part, were targeting teal and not non-target species,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “The 2015 season saw hunters harvesting more non-target species.”
It is imperative that hunters brush up on their duck identification skills for this final year of the experimental early teal season.
“The results of the experiment will determine if Michigan is allowed to continue the early teal season after the three-year experiment”, said DNR waterfowl and wetland specialist Barbara Avers. “Hunters are strongly encouraged to study their duck identification skills this season. Don't shoot if you aren't sure of your target.”
To review teal identification and get tips on where teal are likely to be found, visit www.michigan.gov/waterfowl and click on “Early Teal Season.” The website provides information to help prepare hunters to go out in the marsh. The continuation of Michigan’s early teal season depends on the skill and judgement of hunters, so remember to shoot at ducks only if you are sure they are teal.
In addition to early teal season, other migratory bird hunting seasons also begin Sept. 1, including early goose, Virginia and sora rails, common snipe, and common gallinules (moorhens). To learn more about these hunting opportunities and duck identification, as well as teal hunting tips, visit www.michigan.gov/waterfowl.
The 2016-17 waterfowl hunting season continues the celebration of the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy, a 10-year, cooperative partnership to restore, conserve and celebrate Michigan's waterfowl, wetlands and waterfowl hunting community.