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Mississippi hunters will get their first chance to chase waterfowl when teal season opens Saturday, September 11. The early teal season is growing in popularity as hunters are learning how fun it can be to break out their decoys and calls and watch blue-winged teal rocket through the air. Hunters need to be sure their hunting license is current for the 2010 hunting season, complete with Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification, as well as purchase state and federal waterfowl stamps.
Blue-winged teal prefer shallowly-flooded wetlands with natural vegetation like wild millet and smartweed, which produce seeds and harbor invertebrates, but concentrations of birds can also be found on reservoirs, oxbow lakes, catfish ponds, farm ponds, and other permanent waters. Ed Penny, MWDFP Waterfowl Program Coordinator, explained, “Blue-winged teal typically begin migrating in late summer and early fall, and usually ride the first cold fronts of the season down to the Caribbean and Latin America. We started seeing the first birds in mid-August, but we have received several reports during the past week that larger numbers have been showing up in the state.”
The season opens September 11 and will close on September 26. The bag limit for blue-winged teal is 4 per day with no more than 8 in possession. Shooting hours are from 30 minutes prior to sunrise to sunset. MDWFP offers early-season teal hunting opportunities at several WMAs including Muscadine Farms and Howard Miller WMAs. Visit us online at home.mdwfp.com/waterfowl to receive more information on waterfowl hunting opportunities throughout the state.