northIn many places you can go duck and goose hunting in the morning and move on to fishing or even pigeon hunting in the afternoon. Here in Tennessee, we are fortunate to have abundant outdoor opportunities, and the upcoming seasons are a prime example.
Once September rolls around, there’s a buffet of hunting opportunities beginning with the first seasons of resident geese. Or, if you’re an early riser, remember that squirrel season is also underway.
Later in the day, pigeon season opens at noon and then morning hunts are an option to beat the heat, as hunters can be out in the field before sunrise on the second day.
By the second week of September, it’s the start of teal and wood duck season. Wow, what opportunities!
Duck hunters in Tennessee will have another chance to get in on the early wood duck and teal season this year, as the five-day holiday runs from Saturday through Wednesday for a combined five-day segment. That’s followed by four days of a teal-only seasonal segment from Thursday through September 18.
Daily catch limits will be similar to last year, allowing six ducks per day, but only two can be wood ducks.
Early goose season is in progress through September 18. And hunters are allowed a limit of five bags per day.
Waterfowl hunters will rise and shine to take advantage of early morning sunrises from backwater swamps, shallow marshes and island edges of large lakes, mudflats and ponds.
Early season has been popular for many years and Tennessee is fortunate to share the combined teal and wood duck season with Kentucky and Florida. Other states on the Mississippi Flyway have teal-only seasons, but have a longer segment for hunting.
Teal is a bit different. Exploring definitely helps, but these blue darts come and go in the blink of an eye. They often move in and out of an area quickly. A little cold spell can help stimulate blue teal migration literally overnight.
However, they can shed just as fast as they shed. It’s not unusual for them to pack up and leave town overnight.
As for the configurations, it does not require an elaborate design to attract teal or wood at the beginning of the season. Often a small variety of decoys consisting of a mix of blue wing teal and wood duck or faded mallard decoys will suffice.
Adding a little movement certainly helps, from swimming lures to MoJo-style spinning wing lures that can really turn heads. Several lure companies offer a spinner model for Woodies and Blue-winged Teals. The teal has a fast wing beat compared to the mallard and other puddle duck models and seems to work well for getting the tired teal’s attention.
Wood Ducks seem to respond well to rotating wing displays at times. Adding a few swimmers or feed wobblers certainly helps put ripples in the water and helps bring life to a stagnant lure that might fall victim to a stagnant wind in the early morning hours.
Any movement and extra movement seems to help bring life when there is no wind and the ducks are shy or shy. The addition of all of these devices will generally help attract ducks into the shooting range.
LURES CAN BE AN EFFECTIVE HELP
Most waterfowl hunters choose to hunt in temporary locations ranging from boat shutters to a few bushes or reeds stuck in the mud. Setting up on spots or islands with a small number of lures works well.
Placing some teal blue wing decoys to the side of the wood duck decoys is an effective layout. Some hunters just throw in some faded mallard decoys and walk away with it. In the early morning hours of low light it seems to work as well.
With geese in the equation, hunters who set up shop in large waters or around mudflats and sandbars often choose to add floating geese or perhaps silhouette and full body geese.
The size of the setup often depends on how much space you have to carry everything in the boat or how much help you have setting up and taking down temporary differentials.
Others choose to explore and find harvested cornfields near ponds or where geese cross from roosting sites to feeding areas.
With a bit of a chill in the air, the start of duck season is something of a head start for Tennessee duck hunters who want to polish up the retriever pup a bit and maybe introduce a youngster to the sport of birding. aquatic.
It may not be bone-chilling winds or ice to break. No snow in the forecast and no need to worry about leaky boots or cold feet. It’s duck hunting time in Tennessee, though, so set your alarm early, smell coffee from a thermos, and stand in puddles while you wait for another silent sunrise.
When you throw all the gear in the hunting bucket, remember to add a can of mosquito repellant, as this time of year, that’s just as important as their shells.
Scan the eastern sky and listen for wings shedding air in a rapid descent. Just before sunrise is the best time for waterfowl, so don’t miss out.
Let the games begin as Tennessee’s first hunting seasons are here.
Introduce someone to the sport in the next few weeks before those brutal, bone-chilling winds arrive and test the mettle of most waterfowl hunters.
STEVE McCADAMS is the post-intelligentOutdoor Writer. His email address is [email protected].