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The experimental September teal hunting season begins Sept. 2, and based on a recently released population survey, hunters can expect to find about the same amount of teal as they have over the last five years.
Teal are early migrants and a challenge to bag. Teal migrations are dependent upon weather patterns and most of the teal that come through Iowa originate in Saskatchewan, Minnesota and North Dakota.
“Watch the weather in the northern prairies. If its cold up there, the birds will begin heading down,” said Orrin Jones, waterfowl biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “This time of year is a great time to be on the marsh. Teal decoy very well, are fun to hunt and provide a lot of excitement. It’s one of my favorite ducks to eat.”
Teal prefer shallow water so hunting is primarily done from shore. No special equipment is necessary – just standard decoys, light loads and wide chokes.
Scouting wetland conditions is important even during the best water years. In years when a good portion of the state is experiencing a drought, scouting is more important.
The Iowa DNR will provide a wetland conditions update in the evening on Aug. 31 at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Migratory-Game-Birds, and then will update the wetland conditions before the regular duck season opens. The Iowa DNR’s online hunting atlas at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting is a useful tool for identifying new places to hunt.
The season runs Sept. 2-10 in the north zone and south zone and Sept. 2-17 in the Missouri river zone. Shooting hours is sunrise to sunset, beginning one half our later than regular duck season. Daily limit is six teal. Only blue-winged, green-winged and cinnamon teal are legal. No other duck species may be taken.
This is the final year of the experimental September teal only season. State wildlife experts will review hunter participation, success and feedback, identification and compliance observation surveys and management strategies before proposing the 2018 waterfowl hunting season dates.
Special September urban goose hunting season
The special September urban goose hunting season surrounding Des Moines, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City and Cedar Falls/Waterloo is Sept. 2-10, providing hunters an early opportunity to help cities reduce the resident urban goose population.
Goose hunting is only allowed within the special zones. Zones include a mix of public and private land and hunters are required to secure permission before hunting on private land. Hunters may harvest up to five Canada geese daily. Shooting hours are the same as during regular goose seasons.
Goose zone maps are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting then click on Migratory Game Birds in the left column and then on the Special September Canada Goose Seasons drop down menu.