Waterfowlers will be able to unpack their waders from summer storage and get their feet wet this weekend. Sept. 10 marks opening day for two early waterfowl seasons in Oklahoma. The September teal season will run through Sept. 25, and the resident Canada goose season will run through Sept. 19.
"These seasons give people an opportunity to get back into the field, brush off their decoys and check their waders for leaks," said Josh Richardson, migratory bird biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
"Most places in the state have received some beneficial rain, and habitat conditions are generally in good shape," Richardson said. "With the recent cold front, the teal have already started moving through the state."
Because blue-winged teal and green-winged teal usually migrate through Oklahoma much earlier than many other ducks, hunters are offered the chance to harvest these birds before the regular duck seasons. Teal are small, fast fliers and usually are seen in flocks of six to 15 birds. They have an erratic flight pattern, challenging even the best of wing-shooters.
Hunters are reminded that only teal are in season, and bird identification is important. Hunters may see other ducks while teal hunting, such as resident mallards or wood ducks, along with some other early migrants.
Waterfowl hunters also have a chance to hunt resident Canada geese during the September season. These geese have established healthy populations in areas across the state, particularly near some larger urban areas. Goose hunters must obey all hunting restrictions for any area in which they are hunting.
Teal hunters are allowed a daily bag limit of six birds. Hunters taking resident Canada geese are allowed a daily bag limit of eight birds. All other state and federal migratory bird hunting regulations are in effect for these two early waterfowl seasons, including the use of only federally approved nontoxic shot. Migratory bird regulations can be found in the Oklahoma Hunting & Fishing Regulations Guide, available online atwildlifedepartment.com or in print at license vendors statewide.
Richardson said he hopes waterfowlers will take advantage of the early seasons. "Things are looking good, and we encourage hunters to make it out for some teal and resident Canada goose hunting," he said.
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