Smokum870 wrote:I had heard rumpus of an early teal opportunity. Any truth to that?
I went round and round with the bios on this last season. I'll be blunt...
- The commissioner, bios, and council always solicit input from an enforcement standpoint. Our wardens don't think Maine hunters can identify a teal from any other young of the year eclipse plumed puddler... and Maine hunters apparently proved that to be the case during an experimental teal season decades ago. They believe there would be a large incidental kill.
- Proponents of later regular duck seasons see a special 'early teal' season as a way to appease the warm weather hunters and justify their demands... warm weather hunters and the bios (who support warm weather hunters) don't like that idea at all. "Special Teal Seasons" are generally 6 - 12 days and do not count toward regular duck. However, some southern states include Wood Ducks in their early season, in which case those days do count.
In regards to enforcement; if you are not confident in the ID... don't take the shot or risk a ticket. I will readily admit that I have taken the rare shot at a duck that I was not sure if it was a hen mallard or black duck... but it was in a situation where the take of either species would not put me in violation. Because we are a breeding area for many species, it could certainly make the job of teal ID more difficult in some situations.
Personally, I always here the few guys that want more days in September pointing to Teal hunting as their "lost opportunity". A special season would give them that opportunity and mean increased opportunity later in the regular season. Seems like a win, win, right? Yet, I also believe that most of Maine gets 2 good weeks of 'local duck' hunting... regardless of whether that occurs in late September or early October... and, that the large migratory flights start coming to central Maine in late October around Halloween every year. You get those same two weeks of gunning from whenever you start banging at them and then the dog days of October until Halloween (unless you live in the County). True, you may lose some Bluewing Teal the beginning of October.But, if you start banging at teal will it not disperse your other local ducks such as Mallards, Blacks, and Wood Ducks. So its a trade off... miss a few Blue Wing or blow out the rest of the local bird species. Something to consider for sure.