A Full Rain Gauge Can Mean Full Limits By Chris McLeland, Professional Waterfowl and Wetland Biologist Like most diehard waterfowlers, I look forward to teal season every year. Teal duck season gives me the opportunity to get out and knock the dust off prior to the “main” waterfowl season, not to mention it’s an absolute blast to hammer away at a group of blue rockets as they come screaming into the spread of Hard Core blue-winged teal decoys. Here in Central Missouri, the early teal season can sometimes ebb and flow depending on several factors. However, the two most important factors are water availability, and of course, the weather. For many, lack of autumn rainfall can leave us limited in terms of hunting locations, shifting our focus to public waterfowl areas and reservoirs. However, occasionally the stars align, and this year we have blessed with several rain events timed perfectly with a couple stronger than normal cold fronts. When this happens, you better be ready! Over the last two weeks, the many areas of the Midwest have been the recipient of two large fronts dropping heavy rainfall. Where I am at (central Missouri), the last front, which happen to take place three days prior to the teal opener, dropped over 7” in some locations! As a result, the first few days of teal season were fantastic! Here are some tips that can help you take advantage of these situations, when “the stars align” in your area. Teal’s preferred food is primarily the seeds of moist soil plants, such as smartweeds and millets, as well as some aquatic insects during the fall migration. Teal will actively seek out shallow water, moist soil areas as well as exposed mudflats and key in on these areas. So what does that mean? During times of heavy rains, more preferred habitat will be made available. This can be very beneficial for many reasons. Heavy rainfall can provide opportunistic wetlands, or areas that typically would not be considered teal hunting areas, providing enough water to attract and hold birds. These areas are often overlooked by many hunters. As intensively managed public areas become pressured, teal will actively seek these small, less-pressured areas out. During, and directly following, a rain event can be an excellent time to chase teal in these locations, as teal will typically be actively seeking out new areas to forage. These “fresh” areas can be more productive than those that have started to become over-hunted. Wetlands are dynamic, and every changing. In many cases, it doesn’t take much rainfall to add a hunting spot or two on a intensively managed area, or add just enough water to make the small side channel or slough that you have driven by a hundred times a “lights out” spot to shoot a limit of teal. You can find all of our Waterfowl Hard Goods in our catalog here Chris McLeland is a professional waterfowl and wetlands biologist from central Missouri. Chris is an avid waterfowler, and has recently been added as an expert contributor to HardCore-Brands.com. Look for more of Chris’s articles every month!