Teal time cometh

Last years opening of teal season found water and birds in decent supply. Not so for the 2011 teal season over much of Kansas.

Saturday is the opening day for the special September teal season. It’s been an annual event for many decades as hunters get a crack at teal that often migrate through Kansas before traditional duck seasons begin.

News from some of Kansas best wildlife areas is certainly mixed this year.

CHEYENNE BOTTOMS WILDLIFE AREA – “We’re hurting for water,” said Karl Grover, refuge manager.

Grover said pools 3B and 4B should have enough water for hunting this weekend. There is also a little in pool 5, too.

Grover said teal are beginning to appear but cautioned hunters there are a lot of bigger ducks, which can’t legally be shot in September, also at The Bottoms.

Looking ahead he’s concerned how much water will be left when the regular season opens in October. Things don’t look too good as of now. “But one storm in the right spot and we could be in fat-city,” Grover said.

JAMESTOWN WILDLIFE AREA – According to Matt Farmer, assistant area manager, too much rain has been the problem at Jamestown. They’ve had six flood events so far this year.

Farmer said Game Keeper, Gun Club and Marsh Creek marshes will all be open and have some food for the ducks around the edges. He said a big rain could flood some other parts of the area where great food is just waiting for water.

Farmer has been seeing a few teal but said Nebraska biologists tell him there are lots of teal not far north of the Kansas border.

Hunters should be on the look-out for high numbers of wood ducks now calling Jamestown home.

A blue-winged teal, the reason for the special September season. Hunters should remember teal are the only legal bird that can be shot during the season. Other species like pintails and wood ducks can also be very common.

MCPHERSON WETLANDS – Brent Theede, area manager, couldn’t be reached and hasn’t returned calls. Sorry. I’ll update the blog when he does. Last we talked, though, water was in very¬† short supply.

QUIVIRA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE – Same song, different verse as Cheyenne Bottoms. Water is in very short supply at Quivira. Staff say some water has been moved to pools 10 and 11 in Reno County. Teal are showing up but nobody is reporting big numbers yet.