|Duck and goose hunters who just can’t wait for regular seasons to arrive can go ahead and dust off the decoys for Oklahoma’s September teal-only hunting season and nine-day special resident Canada goose season. Both seasons begin Sept. 9 statewide. |
SEPTEMBER TEAL SEASON
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes the September teal season available when the teal population is above certain levels. It offers hunters 16 bonus hunting days and does not take any days away from the regular duck hunting seasons.
“The teal season is a good opportunity to introduce young or novice hunters to duck hunting because these birds decoy fairly well and make good table fare,” said Wildlife Biologist Paxton Smith, migratory game bird biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Continental populations of blue-winged teal declined in 2023 but remain above the long-term average. Teal move into Oklahoma earlier than most other duck species, and changes in the weather up north can improve teal numbers overnight.
Teal favor mudflats and shallow water, but conditions vary statewide. Smith advises hunters to scout potential hunting areas before opening day.
“Get out, assess the water levels and vegetation. Conditions are highly variable across the state, with some areas having high quality teal habitat,” Smith said.
Since harvest is only open for teal, it’s important hunters properly identify their targets to avoid shooting any other duck species. The two main species of teal found in Oklahoma are green-winged teal and blue-winged teal. They are small, fast-flying ducks that usually move in unison in flocks of 8-15 birds, but they can be seen in flocks of 100 or more.
Legal shooting hours begin a half-hour before sunrise. The season will close at sunset Sept. 16.
SPECIAL RESIDENT CANADA GOOSE SEASON
Resident Canada geese can be found near most water bodies across the state, and they offer a chance to hunt before migrating birds from the north begin arriving in large numbers.
Smith said resident goose populations continue to be high across Oklahoma. “Many of these birds spend their days within urban areas, loafing on ponds or fields where access to hunting is usually not permitted. But they tend to fly to feeding areas in the mornings and evenings, and those are the times hunters are going to have the most success.”
All waterfowl hunting is restricted to federally approved nontoxic shot in all areas of the state, and hunters must have a valid federal duck stamp and Harvest Information (HIP) permit, as well as a state waterfowl hunting license, unless exempt. Possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl is prohibited.
For more information and complete regulations for the September teal and special resident Canada goose hunting seasons, consult the current Oklahoma Fishing and Hunting Regulations online at wildlifedepartment.com, in the free Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app for Apple or Android, or in print free at license dealers statewide.
OTHER WATERFOWL HUNTING INFO
- Attend a Learn to Hunt webinar about teal and resident Canada goose hunting at noon Friday, Sept. 8. Join experts from the Wildlife Department and the National Wild Turkey Federation as they discuss the basics of pursuing teal and resident Canada geese. Register at https://license.gooutdoorsoklahoma.com/Event/ViewEvent.aspx?id=107080. Registrants will receive an email with a link to the webinar about two hours before the session begins.
- Drawings for season-long waterfowl blind sites at Eufaula, Fort Gibson, Webbers Falls and W.D. Mayo reservoirs will be held Sept. 16 at ODWC’s Porter field office, 9097 N 34th St. (on U.S. 69 about 2 miles north of the Muskogee Turnpike).
- Attend the 2nd annual Oklahoma Waterfowl Festival on Sept. 23 at G&H Decoy in Henryetta. Admission is free. Activities are set for all ages, including the state calling contest, Oklahoma Waterfowl Challenge, raffles, vendors, food trucks, and more. Proceeds will benefit the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
- Special waterfowl hunting days for youths, veterans and active military members only will be held Sept. 30 and Feb. 3 in the Panhandle counties, and Nov. 4 and Feb. 3 in the rest of the state.
- ODWC guided waterfowl hunts for youths ages 12-15 are available statewide by application at wildlifedepartment.com. Deadline to apply is Nov. 5.
- Regular duck season will run Oct. 7 to Jan, 3, 2024, in the Panhandle counties. Duck season in the rest of the state will run Nov. 11-26, and Dec. 2 to Jan. 28, 2024. All goose seasons will be open statewide Nov. 4-26, then reopen Dec. 2. The season for white-fronted geese will close Feb. 4, 2024, and seasons for dark geese and light geese will close Feb. 11, 2024.
- ODWC maintains about 30 wetland development units across the state that are managed for waterfowl habitat and hunting opportunities. Hunting on these areas is generally limited to half-days only. Condition reports are issued biweekly during hunting season for many WDUs.
For more, go online to the Wildlife Department’s Waterfowl Hunting Page at wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/resources/waterfowl.