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Teal Time!

Blue, Green-winged, and Cinnamon teal are only three of more than twenty teal species that call North America home. Blue and Green-winged teal have a habit of migrating south long before other ducks. Therefore, the USFWS grants hunters the special opportunity to harvest these birds and take advantage of this early migration. The special early season is around nine to sixteen days long. The length of the special season is announced by your local Natural Resources board and depends on the number of teal in the breeding population the preceding spring.

Early teal season provides a great warm-up and puts some tasty game birds in the freezer, with blue-winged teal being the star of early September hunts due to the fact they migrate earlier than any other North American waterfowl species. Places like Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, and Kansas are hot spots for this special early season. 

These states along with newly approved Minnesota start their special season early/mid-September. Not all states are open though, and some start later than others. Most states also require waterfowl/duck stamp in addition hunting license, make sure to do your research with your local DNR before you head out into the field, shotgun in hand. You can take any combination of blue-winged and green winged teal up to six with a total possession limit of eighteen.

We recommend going with an experienced hunter if it’s your first time. There are several look-alike species that can be easily confused. 

Facts and Identification 

Green-winged teal are one of seven ducks that are Holarctic in distribution, meaning they occur throughout the northern hemisphere with a population of around 6.7 million. Green-winged teal are very small ducks, smaller than Cinnamon teal, with a green speculum and no blue in the forewing. They have short, blocky bodies and their tails sit high out of the water.

Blue winged teal have been known to migrate further south than any other North American waterfowl. A blue winged teal was once recorded through banding to have traveled over 4,000 miles from Manitoba to Peru where he was harvested by a hunter. Male Blue-winged teal have a white crescent on the face, and a white patch at the base of the bill. The females have a more heavily patterned face and body with a stronger eyeline.

Cinnamon males, the only North American diver that also breeds in South America, have a deep brownish-red body with a long black bill, red eyes, and a black back and rear. The females have a coarsely marked brown body with faint darker eyeline and cap, and a long black bill. 

Blue and Green-winged teal, although thought to be the fastest waterfowl by hunters are in fact among the slowest with an average flight speed of only 30 mph. 

Safari Club International is always First for Hunters. Sign up for our Hunter Advocacy Action Center to stay up to date on legislation impacting hunting around the country!

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