A teal season to forget, so far

Four days into the season and the 2011 September season is stacking to be one not be remembered too fondly.

Retrievers haven't been threatening to strike because of too much work this teal season. It's been one of the slowest in many years.

Best reports so far are from opening day at Cheyenne Bottoms where Karl Grover, area manager, said there were a lot of hunters and quite a few teal. He and his staff checked about 80 hunting parties and found an average of about 3.3 teal per person. Not bad since the limit is four per day.

Sunday, though, the average was down to about 1.4 teal per person without nearly as many hunters. “The birds got educated real quick and vacated the premises,” Grover said. He said the limited amount of water really hurt success this year.

Sorry, no call-back from biologists at Jamestown Wildlife Area where conditions looked much better going into the season. Ditto for McPherson Wetlands where things looked very poor going into the season.

Private land hunters in south-central Kansas didn’t appear to fare much better. Andy Fanter and some friends averaged about two teal per person on Saturday and Sunday hunting in a usually good area in western Reno County .

Ross Clopine called it “worst teal opener of my lifetime.” Saturday and Sunday he shot at and missed one bird on areas where 25-100 had been the weekend before.

No doubt this week’s cold front will bring more teal southward. No doubt they won’t stay around long because of our on-going drought.

All it would take is a few sizable rains and a lot of marshes that have dried and grown up in weeds would be fantastic habitat.