An informal preseason waterfowl survey at the popular Metzger Marsh State Wildlife Area earlier this week evoked the following observation for today’s early teal season hunting opener: Mind your ducks.
My buddy, Mike Mainhart, of Vienna, Ohio, over Youngstown way, dumped his little kayaks into the 558-acre public hunting marsh to paddle around and take a look.
It took a while but we finally spied a couple of flocks of teal, about 10 in one, six in the other, doing what teal do: flying low and fast, zigging, zagging, acting like overgrown mosquitoes on steroids.
These fleet birds that seem to come out of nowhere and then zip past your blind at 60 mph will be the chosen quarry today till Sept. 18.
Mainhart and I did not put up any wood ducks till much later.
About 10 of them were nestled close to one another back in the mucky potholes, and it wasn’t till we flushed them by chance that they showed their hand with a nasal “whoo-eek, whoo-eek!”
Don’t confuse these two principal small-duck species. Pat Baranowski, wetlands project leader at the nearby Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, cautioned waterfowlers to be sure of their birds before shooting.
It is possible, he said, to confuse a female or juvenile woody for a blue-winged teal, at least if you ignore differences in flight patterns, calls, and such and rely only on flyby glimpses of color patterns.
“That why the opening time is sunrise, not a half hour before,” Baranowski said.
Closing hours are sunset for the same reason. A little extra light helps. The general waterfowling season come October has longer hours.
In related news, the early Canada goose season opened its 15-day run yesterday. Not much confusing them with anything else, if you can find a field [with permission] where they are working. Other season openers yesterday included dove, a top wingshooting skills’ challenge, plus several other little-hunted migratory gamebirds such as moorhens, rails, and snipe, and the sole small game mammal opener, squirrel.
- The annual decoy show and competition of the Maumee Bay Carvers, conducted Aug. 20 at the waterfowlers festival at Magee Marsh, brought the following results:
The three-bird rig contest on Lake Erie: Best of show, Gary Hanson, Eastpoint, Mich.
Lake Erie singles on Lake Erie: Best of show, Rick McAtee, Oak Harbor.
Working class, open: Best of show, Jon Jones, Alganac, Mich.
Working class, novice: Best of show, Steve Secord, Toledo.
Junior working decoy: Best of show, Teo Wilson, Toledo.
Shorebird: Best of show, Gary Joe Bryan, Nashport, Ohio.
It Ain’t Antique Yet: Best of show, Chris Andrews, Magnolia, Texas.
The best of show Lake Erie single, a mallard hen by McAtee, and a curlew by Andres will be on display at the Magee’s Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center until next year, according to Bob Lund, Carvers spokesman.
- The Mudjaw Bowmen archery club, 6240 Benore Rd., is hosting a three-day program of hunter warm-up shoots today through Monday. Registration is 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. daily. Fees per shoot are adult $8; youth 14 to 17, $3. Cubs 13 and under shoot free. For other details visit online at mudjawbowmen.com.
- Upcoming — Sept. 10, family fun and fishing derby, Waterworks Park, Waterville, 8 a.m. To 1 p.m., sponsored by Rotary Club of Waterville and the city, open to first 60 registrants ages 6 through 14. To register call the city offices at 419-878-8100.
Sept. 10, Northwest Ohio youth outdoors symposium, 8 a.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen’s Association, 349 Teachout Rd., Jerusalem Township, for ages 7 through 17 with adult partners; trap shooting, .22 rifle shooting, bowfishing, decoy painting. Walleye dinner to follow activities, adults $8 and 12 and under $4. Call Michelle for details and to register, 419-691-2016.
Fish sales — For stocking ponds, largemouth bass, bluegills, channel catfish, and more; order by Sept. 30 from Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District, Oak Harbor, call 419-898-1595; order by Oct. 3 from Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District, Maumee, call 419-893-1966.
Contact Steve Pollick at email@example.com or 419-724-6068