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Thread: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

  1. #1
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    Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    I chose a good day (yesterday) to get back into the Bay seeing as it is snowed up today - bad time to be out on the roads. After last weekend's misadventure when I went swimming for geese I went right back it. I replaced my waders with High and Dry's (just trying out another brand and I am a fan of "Surviving Duck Season" - the YouTube channel) and this time also squeezed into a wet suit on the chance that I might have to go deep again. As it turns out, despite the tide calendar saying it was the same height as last weekend's deluge, Boundary was down right pleasant and was extremely productive.



    This season I've been taking out new hunters a lot and my group has swelled a bit so it was nice to be able to go out with just two others this time and even nicer that my stretch of the Bay was quiet except for two other small groups. With a rising tide in the morning I took out my complement of four confidence Canadas (also mindful Canada season started up again) and a bunch of teal floaters. These teal floaters are wonderful. They are cheap, weigh nothing and bob and twist with the merest of wind. Not that there was any wind that day. All we had was a gloomy forecast, zero wind, and the rising tide.

    That said, given last weekend's apocalypse, I was secretly happy once I mounted the dyke to see that it was going to be a calm day. No water up to the dyke, just the usual flat sand all the way to the United States - at least until the tide was scheduled to come up. Without the struggles of last week, dragging our gear to the coast was just the usual effort. But even with the normal dragging and pulling, I quickly realized that my idea about wearing a wet suit underneath the new waders AND insulated layer was turning out to be a bad idea. The sweat quickly built up inside my suit and I was dreading how clammy and warmth destroying it would feel once I became static. More on that later.

    Once I caught up to our first friend who had staked out our favourite spot and throwing out our dekes, we settled in just in time for legal light. I threw on an extra layer to try to trap in any heat I had built up and began to assess my new waders. The High and Drys are what I call no-frills waders pitched as high quality waders developed by people who work in aquaculture. Its features are few: velcro center pocket, kangaroo pocket underneath, obligatory transparent cellphone pocket inside, drawstring tightener, reinforced knees, wader belt. However, no shell holders (I already have a Low Profile shell holder bag I use so no biggie), no insulated liner (so I used one from my dead pair of Frogg Toggs). However, they boast of the sturdiness of the boot (1600 Thinsulate with neoprene, kevlar liner) and the hardiness of the overall envelope. All for more than $C500 shipped and taxes. My initial thoughts: easy to get into, boot is comfortable with room for double socks if you need them (I got a size up), good to walk in, I kind of regret that the kangaroo pocket doesn't have fleece lining to warm up your hands, the straps are good and more importantly, there were no leak issues. But then, it's just the first day and one shouldn't expect a wader to show any issues for awhile.


    Back to the hunt: with the gloomy weather there was an expected increased activity. Plenty of pintails were coursing through the sky - too high to shoot at for the most part. Odd mallard pairs on a mission crossed the foreshore leading to some hopeful shots. However, the highlight of the day turned out to be teal. Plenty of green wing teal.

    As the tide rose on the horizon we could see thousands of dots rising and gathering at the water's edge which could only portend ducks and masses of them. We could hear geese of both shades honking and I had brought BB with me just in case, but for the most part geese would not give us any looks, it was teal that were on the menu but only after some initial waves of pintails. Hearing from other waterfowlers around the continent, the Lower Mainland certainly can boast a great pintail season and more often than not I will take home a pintail or two with every jaunt. However, the pintails have been getting hammered so while we saw lots of them, they are keeping above shooting range now. While I and a buddy were able to pot a couple, the pinnies and rare mallards were not the main attraction on Saturday.

    The main attraction arrived as the tide finally reached the foreshore and began lifting our floaters. With the tide's arrival, the masses of birds on the horizon began leapfrogging each other, feeding closer and finally giving us some looks. With the first few passes it was clear that hundreds of Green Wing Teal would be popping in and out of the little bays and channels of the foreshore and we would be benefiting by it.



    It wasn't long before singles and doubles began investigating our setup and after some initial missing we began to find the range and each us pulled down these hardy little birds and waded out to collect them. And then as the tide was fully up, we could see rafts of the teal piling up a few hundred meters away and the action became constant. Soon we were shouting at each other directions and warnings as these fun little birds came in on earnest. No more pass shooting, just sealing the deal on cupping birds sailing in to find a spot in amongst our floaters.

    But as the opportunities started to come in, we started second guessing our shooting. Each of us were presented with amazing opportunities and for whatever reason, teal would flare away from the first shots either puffing feathers or seemingly dodging the rain of steel thrown their way. I was shooting #4 steel, my friend on the left was even shooting the more expensive Hevisteel. And while our third member missing with #2 might be attributable to teal somehow making it through fewer balls, the fact each of us were whiffing on close in opportunities became a source for jokes and shrugs. "How did you miss that?" became "how did WE miss that?" when a kamikaze duck somehow dodged and weaved through three guns without so much as a feather drifting down as the only indication we were even shooting at it. My second bird seemed evidence that the teal are a hardy bird for such a small one. One coming behind us was targeted by each of us in turn - I could SEE it being staggered by shot from my first two friends, but only when it came past my gun was I finally able to bring it down. We joked that it must have been so full of steel by that time it just couldn't keep in the air.

    And even shot down, a fair number of these birds continued to try to survive once they hit the water. On three of my birds that I had to wade out to get, I had to play my own version of anti-submarine hunting as the cripples dove and I had to anticipate where it would come up so I could administer a swat. On another, I chased after it by hand again lamenting the lack of a dog. One of my unlucky friends, however, followed a teal for hundreds of meters into the bay and no amount of swatting could put it down and was forced to return empty handed.

    Even with some questionable shooting (or bulletproof birds), it seemed impossible on that day to not pile up teal. They might be hardy and will certainly fool you with their dodging and weaving, but they were easily enticed to come in on our dekes. Coming close to noon, I was coming up on my limit (counting one that had sailed into the underbrush and disappeared). By that time, all of us were down to our last shells and were grumbling about not having brought an extra box for the many opportunities. Finally I was down to my last shell and waited patiently for one great opportunity to try to get my last bird and ... BANG ... and a miss. Everyone groaned. One shy of a limit in hand - but counting the lost one - an actual limit depending on how you think of it.

    An excellent day and seeing as the snow is locking up the Bay, a well-timed visit.

    Last edited by silveragent; 12-18-2022 at 12:16 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    I use to shoot a lot of teal in that area. Right along where the sand meets the vegetation. Had to have a cloudy or rainy day. But serious shooting for about 20 minutes before the end of legal shooting. They would fly that line. Good to hear that type of shooting is still going on there.
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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    Hey there Silveragent, I wondered if some of the ‘pops’ I heard from that area of the bay were you and your crew.

    I was a bit east of you guys from 1330h to last light and managed to tag one pintail drake and a shoveler hen. I had a few paired up pintails fly within range but from behind me, and, sadly, missed a slam dunk on a pair flying west (Kevlar coated, I presume ).

    Sadly, the two ducks I did down weren’t dead on landing and took some work by my lab to find - it sure is handy having a retriever!
    If it cant be done with one shot, it shouldn't be done.

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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    Well done, great pics, and good on ya for getting right back at er'....

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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    Livewire, we were already on our way out by 1:30 after cleaning up and gathering up decoys so probably one of the couple hunters I am familiar with who were coming in as we were coming out.

    We had quite a few close in shots that we whiffed on. It was a real mystery. We were not that bad shots. But we made up for it in volume.

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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    Teal are hard to connect on you almost need to be using # 6’s for them but it’s almost impossible to find #6 steel shot around here.

    I bought some #5 blindside for my 20 gauge but haven’t tried them yet. Maybe your pattern was too tight?

    I remember years back shooting at a pair of teal aiming at the drake in the front and stoned the hen 4 feet behind him lol those suckers can move.
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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Teal are hard to connect on you almost need to be using # 6’s for them but it’s almost impossible to find #6 steel shot around here.

    I bought some #5 blindside for my 20 gauge but haven’t tried them yet. Maybe your pattern was too tight?

    I remember years back shooting at a pair of teal aiming at the drake in the front and stoned the hen 4 feet behind him lol those suckers can move.
    I was shocked when I hit two at the end of November, in a windstorm no less! They must’ve been doing Mach 1 with the tailwind. Fun to shoot, not very high on the effort-reward scale for cleaning though.

    In addition to the blindside you bought, Cabelas occasionally has steel upland loads in #6 available (Kent and Remington). I’ve been considering them for grouse, hadn’t given much thought to using them on teal though.

    I picked up two boxes of blended #2(steel) & #4(Bi), which might do the trick, but have yet to pattern them, much less use them in the field.
    If it cant be done with one shot, it shouldn't be done.

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  9. #8
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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    Marc, it occurred to me that my pattern might be too tight. I was shooting modified and #4. My two other buddies were shooting Hevishot and the other #2. It didn't occur to me that if I was targeting teal I could go up in shot some more. I've never seen #6 on the shelves I look at. But then again, I never really know what birds are in when I go out there. I am mostly thinking: is it goose or duck? And bring BB and #4.

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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    they are small but one of my favourite eating birds. I just used up 4 a few weeks ago and made some bacon wrapped teal jalapeņo poppers with cream cheese from the breast and used the carcasses to make a soup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Livewire322 View Post
    I was shocked when I hit two at the end of November, in a windstorm no less! They must’ve been doing Mach 1 with the tailwind. Fun to shoot, not very high on the effort-reward scale for cleaning though.

    In addition to the blindside you bought, Cabelas occasionally has steel upland loads in #6 available (Kent and Remington). I’ve been considering them for grouse, hadn’t given much thought to using them on teal though.

    I picked up two boxes of blended #2(steel) & #4(Bi), which might do the trick, but have yet to pattern them, much less use them in the field.
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    Re: Teal piling up in Boundary - also initial review of High and Dry wader

    Most of the real I shot this fall was with #4 in the 20 gauge. I’ve also used the 12 gauge with some 3 1/2 inch # 3 loads I got on sale years back and double on a pair of teal. They are super challenging to shoot but like you said it’s hard to just take #6 shot when you’re also expecting bigger ducks.

    Quote Originally Posted by silveragent View Post
    Marc, it occurred to me that my pattern might be too tight. I was shooting modified and #4. My two other buddies were shooting Hevishot and the other #2. It didn't occur to me that if I was targeting teal I could go up in shot some more. I've never seen #6 on the shelves I look at. But then again, I never really know what birds are in when I go out there. I am mostly thinking: is it goose or duck? And bring BB and #4.
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