Early teal season is the first opportunity of the year for waterfowl hunters to get out in the field, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. This year, early teal season began Saturday and lasts through Sept. 23, with a daily limit of six teal.
“Scouting is very important during early teal season,” state waterfowl biologist Greg Balkcom said. “Teal migrate through Georgia pretty quickly, and hunters need to spend some time in the field prior to the season to locate good spots to hunt on opening day.”
During early teal season, there are many places open to hunt. People can hunt many of Georgia’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) that are open for small game hunting, and they can hunt beaver ponds and other natural wetlands. Lakes, such as Juliette, and many reservoirs like Clarks Hill, West Point and Seminole offer great hunting opportunities.
For those planning to hunt the coast, reminders of this past hurricane season will still be visible. For example, the Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area continues to experience challenges brought by the strong winds, storm surge and salt water intrusion delivered by Hurricane Irma, so hunters should take that into consideration when making plans.
“While the dikes and road system have been stabilized on the Altamaha area, repair work to restore the impoundments to pre-storm conditions will take some time,” coastal wildlife biologist Robert Horan said.
Hunters wanting access to the Champney Island impoundments at the Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area will find that the 112-acre Old Snipe Pool will be available. On Rhett’s Island, hunters will find that habitats within the impoundment are still not back to desired conditions, and water levels are being managed to prioritize repairs to the dikes. Rhett’s Pools I and II will have low water levels throughout the fall season, making access to portions of the pools difficult. Pool III will be dry throughout the early teal season. Food resources within all of the Altamaha WMA impoundments continue to experience decreased production due to salt water intrusion. This may decrease the quality of duck hunting at Altamaha for the upcoming season. Additionally, while the area will be open for hunting, there may be disturbance from equipment and workers who are repairing damage to the dikes and water control structures across the area.
Waterfowl hunters need a hunting license, the Georgia migratory bird stamp and the federal duck stamp. Licenses may be purchased at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com.
Find more information about waterfowl hunting at https://georgiawildlife.com/migratory-bird-info.