Teal on the Mississippi

Hello friends,

Wisconsin’s seven-day teal season opens on September 1st each year and I use it as an excuse to get myself and my golden retrievers, Fire and her pup Ruby, ready for the upcoming waterfowl season. This past weekend I camped by boat on the Mississippi River near Ferryville on an island that I first camped on 46-years ago.

Friday, August 31st

High 82, low 55

I am pulling my War Eagle down highway 35 just south of La Crosse, and there are two things on my mind: The devastation caused by the recent flooding and the fact that it is after 5 p.m. and I have a long way to go before my boat is launched, I have found a place to camp and hunt for the sunrise opener.

As usual that all worked out and the task at hand went quicker than normal because I put my canoe inside of the War Eagle which made it so I could do the three-mile boat ride a lot faster.

Nothing mattered once I arrived at an island that I first saw back in the early 70’s, especially when a flock of teal flew by as I idled into my campsite.

So as is the norm these days, rain was forecast, plus it was going to get dark in an hour. I unloaded my gear and got the pups in the canoe and went scouting, came back, built camp in the dark and then had a beer and was thoroughly happy with my situation.

Saturday, September 1st

High 79, low 58

The crazy part of this trip started when a very powerful storm hit at 3:45 a.m. with lots of wind, rain, lightning, and thunder. I had planned on getting up at 4:30 but was not canoeing or hunting in that kind of storm. At about 5, I noticed that I was getting wet and could not figure out why. At that time both dogs also began sleeping on top of me.

When I got up I realized that I had not properly closed one of the doors on my tent and I had a good five-gallons of water on my floor.

The storm stopped about 9 and I exited to go hunting, but to be honest I did not figure that I would get much until the evening hunt. I paddled out to where I wanted to hunt and I put out a dozen duck decoys, a half dozen geese (that opened today as well) and an electronic duck decoy.

I hid my canoe in some weeds and had action in the form of lots of wood ducks coming into the decoys, especially the robo duck. I was really surprised when I looked up and there were two teal coming my way and I dusted one which required a long, but successful retrieve from Ruby.

The limit of teal is six per day and I figured I would have my limit right away and go fishing. It was at this time that I kind of started having more bad luck. First, my camera battery was dead, so I paddled back to camp and plugged it into the boat.

When I started hunting again I had tons of woodies coming in and then my robo duck had his left wing fall off, and then his battery went dead, and then there were zero teal.

In reality I did not care because I had a duck and all I did was look around and put myself back into each and every one of the last 47 hunting seasons that I have sat here.

The last two hours of the day it was gorgeous out but there just were not any teal, and the entire day I did not see one other hunter.

Tonight, back at camp, I drank a very tasty beer, and cooked a steak and fried potatoes. But naturally it rained again and the following morning I went on another hunt.

I only had two shooting opportunities and one of them I hit a teal, which three hours later Fire would find 500 yards from where I dropped it.

When I was trailering my boat at Ferryville in what would be in another downpour, I had an excellent conversation with two conservation wardens and then Ruby got lucky and met her husband to be. A fella pulled in that had a beautiful golden retriever in the backseat of his truck.

This dog has the pedigree, looks, hunting back ground and a master that I can work with. Ruby is due to be in heat any day and perhaps Selina’s wish of having pups her senior year in high school will come true. Get a hold of me if you are interested, even if you called in the past!


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