Game know-how

The Eurasian teal


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The Eurasian teal is small, agile and hard to hit…

Where there is water, there are teal. We find them in fresh water, brackish water and even in salt water. A flooded field or just a dip with quite low water level is enough to attract a flock of migrating teal. If there is no water in the hunting area, you can trick the teal by laying out a tarpaulin or plastic sheet on the ground. This can look like water in the dark, and if you are lucky, the teal will take the bait. Teal love water.

Deerhunter teal hunt

The agile Eurasian teal, with the Latin name Anas crecca, is challenging to hunt. It is actually considered to be the most difficult of them all. It is very small – 20-30 cm long, with a weight of 300-400 g and a wingspan of 50-60 cm. But it is not just the size that makes it difficult to bag. Its flight is what really puts a hunter’s shooting skills to the test. The ducks appear very quickly out of the darkness, and just before they land on the water they have a tendency to change direction, as snipes are renowned for. Scoring a double hit on teal is therefore by no means a common feat, even for veteran shooters.

The teal is far from colourful, but in its nuptial plumage it has a brown head and a wide green eye band. Outside the breeding season, both males and females are reminiscent of a miniature mallard. During the mating season, the teal’s diet includes mussels, snails and other small organisms it finds in lakes or shallow water along the coasts. Outside mating season, teal survive primarily on seeds from various aquatic plants.

There are not many breeding teal in Denmark. It is estimated there are only 250 pairs. But from August to November, there are suddenly teal everywhere. The Danish Ornithological Association has estimated that over half a million teal migrate past Denmark during this period.

Deerhunter eurasian teal

When to hunt teal

The success rate is typically highest in September and October. It is difficult to be more precise, as these are migratory birds, which can be influenced by a number of factors. Whether it is windy, rainy and only 10-12 degrees in September, or calm and 20 degrees, does not seem to matter. Teal are said to migrate relatively late in the evening, which certainly does not makes them less challenging to bag. When the dog quivers its head and you immediately hear a splash in the dark, the first teal have arrived.

Duck hunting gear

You can use a duck call for teal, and they cost around DKK 200-300. But unlike mallards, you should not overdo it with teal. Use the call sparingly. If you call too much, you risk scaring away the closest teal. Duck decoys are also effective in encouraging migratory flocks of the small agile ducks to land.
As already noted, the teal is a very small duck. An eider weighs eight times as much, by comparison. There is therefore no reason to use excessively large shot. A good quick size 4 or 5 cartridge is ideal. The most important thing is to test the cartridge on a target or a piece of cardboard, from say 30 metres, so you know that it has good coverage. There must not be too many large patches on the paper with no shot marks. If there are, try a few other cartridge brands until you find the cartridge that best suits your gun. If there is one thing you need when hunting teal, it’s a cartridge with good coverage!

Remember the hunting dog

No hunt without a dog. This also applies to teal hunting, which often takes place after sunset, and where a water retriever is required. If there is a lot of action, the dog will be in the water many times. A torch is extremely useful when the hunt is over and you need to find the last few ducks. A torch will also help ensure you do not fall into holes or break an arm or leg walking home in the dark.

Deerhunter hunt teals

Facts about the teal

Hunting season: 1 September to 31 December and 1 January to 31 January within the Danish fishing territory.
Teal bagged: About 90,000 per year (93,400 in 2015/2016).
Peak season: September.
For the chef: Allow at least 1 teal per person.

Teal hunting at dusk:

How to use a teal call:

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