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Iowa’s 16-day statewide teal-only hunting season begins September 1 and all indicators are pointing towards hunters having a good year in Iowa.
“We likely had good production on our marshes this spring and our wetlands are in their normal late summer conditions,” said Orrin Jones, state waterfowl biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Teal are an abundant species that is lightly harvested. It’s a fun species to hunt because they decoy fairly easily and often will make a few passes over the marsh, which makes it a good season to bring a young or novice hunter along.”
Part of the attraction to teal hunting, in addition to more comfortable weather, is that hunters don’t need a lot of gear to have an enjoyable hunt - just a dozen or two decoys, camouflage to blend in with the background and boots or waders (or a dog) to get any downed birds.
Jones suggested hunters prepare for the season by going through their equipment and replacing any that’s worn out or broken and spend some time scouting the areas they plan to hunt.
“Scouting is an important part of waterfowl hunting and is especially important for teal hunting. Finding shallow wetlands with vegetation is a key to success. It’s tough to predict when the birds are going to push through but hunting a wetland with water and food will improve the chances to find teal,” he said.
Because this is a teal-only hunting season, properly identifying teal is crucial.
“Set up in a place with good visibility and use the sun to your advantage either over your shoulder or at your back. Look closely to determine if it’s a teal and if you’re unsure, give them a pass – they’ll come around again,” Jones said.
The September teal season is a bonus season that does not count against the number of days available for the regular duck season. It has different shooting hours from regular duck season; shooting hours for teal season begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. Hunters are required to limit their gun to holding no more than three shells and must use nontoxic shot only. The daily bag limit is six teal with a possession limit of 18.
Federal Duck Stamp now available wherever Iowa hunting licenses are sold
New this year is the ability for hunters to purchase their federal duck stamp wherever they purchase their Iowa hunting and fishing licenses. Hunters will receive a temporary e-stamp that is valid for 45 days. The physical stamp will arrive in the mail.
Waterfowl hunters are required to purchase an Iowa migratory game bird fee and the federal duck stamp, in addition to having a valid Iowa hunting license and habitat fee, in order to hunt waterfowl.