Altamaha WMA Teal Arrive Late For Opening Weekend Hunt

Slow start to 2005 duck season for teal hunters at Rhett's Island.

GON Staff | October 5, 2005

At least along Georgia’s coast, the teal arrived in the nick of time for the opening of the September season. At Seminole the hunting was reportedly slow, and at other places around the state, the teal ducked out before the season began.

Altamaha WMA area manager Jason Chapman said he hadn’t seen many teal during the week prior to the September 17 opening day. But on Thursday or Friday before the opening, a few ducks arrived and provided fair hunting.

“The regulars at Rhetts Island who were on Pond 1 saw 150 or more teal,” said Jason. “There were several limits taken between legal hours and 8 a.m.”

As is generally true, hunting was best on Pond 1 and slowest on Pond 3.

Clint Courson of Macon who operates Ocmulgee Waterfowl Supply was on Rhetts with two friends opening-day morning.

“We saw about 125 birds and heard a couple hundred shots,” said Clint. “There wasn’t any wind, and there wasn’t any decoy movement. We didn’t really have any ducks wanting to come in, it was pass shooting.”

Clint and his friends killed three blue-wing teal.

At the New Snipe Pond on Champney Island, 12 to 15 hunters killed about 25 teal, said Jason. Most of the ducks were blue-winged teal.

“It wasn’t as good as last year, but I’d say the hunting was fair, and better than I expected,” said Jason.

All the dikes on Rhetts Island have been repaired, and all three ponds are flooded and there is plenty of waterfowl food in the impoundments, said Jason.

Stuart Richardson of Chula said there were no teal in the Tift County area. “The dam blew out on our little flooded-timber teal hole in Berrien County, so we don’t have any teal.”

Field-goose hunting fanatic Robert Burch of Cartersville said he has been having an off year for geese in the Bartow County area because of a rainy summer.

“It was too wet to plant back in the summer and the corn was late,” he said. “The farmers are just cutting their fields, and hunting during the last week should be better.”

The hunting was improving. September 19, Robert and three friends killed 20 geese.

On September 20, Brandon Wilson of Dallas, Kevin Kreuger of Marietta and Greg Grimes of Ball Ground hunted a cut corn field in Floyd County and killed 10 geese.

“It was the best goose hunt I have ever been on,” said Greg. “Even better than North Dakota hunting.”

Bill Cochran of Toccoa said he  had seen no teal on Lake Hartwell or in beaver-pond swamps off the lake, but he and two hunting buddies have had a good early goose season near Lake Hartwell.

“We have been hunting hayfields just off the lake,” said Bill. “The geese have been very receptive. Opening day we called in five groups during the first 45 minutes.”

Cameron Flemming, also of Toccoa, echoed that he hadn’t seen a teal since the week before the season.

“I had staked out 25 or 30 teal that I found on the lower end of the lake, but they disappeared,” he said.

Meanwhile, he has been working on the geese, too. He said he had killed four on Lake Hartwell and the rest on small fields around Franklin County.

“We have killed 20 or 30 geese,” he said. “If you have a good field near a farm pond, there will usually be some geese.”

The early goose season ran from September 3-25; the early teal season ran from September 17-25. The youth waterfowl weekend is up next for waterfowlers on November 12-13. The first waterfowl season runs November 19-27; the second season opens December 10 and runs through January 29.

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