September Ducks

The late summer of 1969 the opening of Texas’ first preseason teal hunt on September 20th, coincided with Fred Walters, a close friend and neighbor of mine, and Iacquiring hunting rights on a three hundred acre rice field that included a small pond. The lease was in the middle of the Katy Prairie, four miles due north of Katy, Texas. This was our first “go” at a hunting lease and for the next two years provided both of us, and our families, with a world of enjoyment. Using the back roads, before sun up, it was a twenty-five minute drive from our home’s in Sharpstown, to the lease.

We took the opportunity the new lease and the new teal season afforded by being hunched down opening morning behind a levee in the rice field, beside our small pond. Awaiting the morning flights, with the sun coming up over our right shoulders, to entice the little ducks, we had a“spread” ofthree mallard decoys bouncing in the water. Several flights of doves buzzed by, but we held our fire since, at the time, our State’s season only allowed dovehunting after noon.

It wasn’t long before, zip, zip, two teal whizzed over us, made a wide swing, caught the wind, set their wings and plopped down beside the bouncing decoys. Up we jumped, the teal flushed wildly, our shotguns boomed and splash, splash, we claimed the first kills on our lease. As I sloshed out and picked up the little ducks, four more buzzed our “spread” and with my hands full and Fred standing up we passed on any shots.

Sitting back down, before I could get set, a lone single buzzed in and Fred splashed him. After that we took turns shooting, the teal kept piling in and before 9:00 AM we both had our limits ofblue wing teal.

During the morning we heard a good amount of shooting and it sounded like the hunters liked this new season, now, forty years later, the “special” teal season is still eagerly awaited by the “short sleeved” hunting group.