With teal season beginning this week, duck hunters are getting a little preview that will satisfy their craving for duck before the big season begins.
As always, when one goes out to the water with a firearm with the intent to hunt, safety is of the highest concern. But when it comes to duck hunting sometimes it's not just you and your partners out there. You may also have your loyal retriever with you.
The following are some safety tips for teal hunting for you and for man's best friend from Ducks Unlimited:
• Never go hunting without telling somebody where you're going and when you expect to return.
• Treat every gun as if it's loaded, even when you're sure it's not.
• Pay attention to what you're doing. When you have a firearm in your hands, the gun and what you are doing with it are the most important things in your immediate world.
• Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. The bullet or shot charge is going to go where the muzzle is pointed. If you keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, the worst consequence of an accidental discharge is a good scare.
• If the temperatures call for it, equip your retriever with a vest. This will not only keep the animal warm but will also prevent cuts from foliage.
• Depending on location, be aware of what animals could be lingering around your hunting spot. Skunks, porcupines, alligators or snakes can all be a danger to your retriever.
This year's teal season runs from Sept. 14-29, and the daily limit is six, with the possession limit being 18.