I mentioned in a previous post that I was learning to shoot with my weak hand. I was working on this because I am right handed, but my left eye is now my dominant eye. I am cross-eye dominant. My ultimate goal in this experiment was to learn to shoot my shotgun left handed because I am going on my first teal hunt.
I was invited by my friend Becky Lou Lacock, of Becky Lou Outdoors, to attend a ladies teal hunt in Louisiana. I have hunted ducks before, but never a teal, and never in marsh lands. Teal have been on my bucket list for quite some time so I am pretty excited.
From what I have been told, teal are extremely fast flying birds. In order to acquire my target, I'll have to keep both eyes open while I hunt. I am always excited to try something new and always want to be prepared. I have practiced shooting with both eyes open, but I also want to know what I needed for this type of hunt.
I asked the gentleman hosting the hunt what I would need and he said "12 or 20 gauge." Well, I have that covered, but what else was I going to need?
I contacted my friend, Gretchen Steele, who is a duck hunting addict. I asked her what she recommended for duck hunting in swamp land. She had a variety of questions for me as far as time of year, terrain and what methods we would be using for this hunt. Frankly I didn't have answers to all her questions. Since I don't do this type of hunting often and didn't want to buy the entire hunting store. I requested basic recommendations for a first time, swampland, duck hunter.
I learned that there are various methods for hunting ducks in swampland. Hunting will be different in flooded timber than it will be in a marsh. There may be elevated ground in the middle of a marsh where a blind may be set or I may be riding in a boat to an elevated box blind. The gear required will be different in each scenario.
Waders, Hip Wader or Rubber Boots
September will most likely be hot and humid in south Louisiana. Gretchen suggested light-weight, waterproof boots if I would be riding in a boat to an elevated box blind. She asked if I would be retrieving my own birds or if there would be dogs available. If there weren't going to be dogs, she suggested a light-weight breathable wader, or a hip wader. Insulated waders would simply be too hot for the time of year.
If I were going to be hunting flooded timber, the light weight wader would also probably be best. A hip wader may do, but I would not know when I could end up in water that would be just an inch or two above the boot. The chances that I will be walking in water are very likely.
If we happen to be going to an elevated piece of ground in the marsh, we could have to walk through a small amount of water. Again, the light-weight, breathable wader would be a safe bet since I may be walking through an unknown amount of water.
Gun case & Gun cleaning kit
Another concern in this condition would be my gun. A waterproof, floatable, gun case could come in handy for this situation. Which leads to yet another essential item. A gun cleaning kit is vital since I will be around water.
Lanyard and calls
Gretchen mentioned that if I would be calling my own birds, I will need a lanyard for my calls. This is an item I knew I could check off my list since I am inexperienced at calling teal.
Teal, like most birds, see very well. She says concealing yourself is one of the highest concerns. She recommended camouflage, including face paint. She also reminded me to remove any sparkly jewelry.
Shotgun shell belt
I already have a gun belt and she suggested I bring it because she says teal fly so fast. They are small birds and are difficult to hit. I will need lots of shells. That brings me back to the topic of shooting with both eyes open.
I will be shooting left handed on this hunt. I want to have the best chance at acquiring my target. Having both eyes open will give me optimal peripheral vision. This teal hunt will be just one example of why it is important to learn to shoot using your dominant eye. To be successful on this teal hunt, I will have to shoot with both eyes open.