Ep. 503 – Bonus: Great Lakes Region Teal and Early-Goose Update

00:00 Chris Jennings Hey everybody, welcome back to the Duck Unlimited podcast. I'm your host, Chris Jennings. Joining me today is Jay Anglin. Jay, what's going on, man? Oh, you know, just loving this heat up here, not. Yeah, it is getting a little bit hot up there in your neck of the woods up there in Northern Indiana right now, but I think it looks like it's gonna be cooling off, which is why I wanted to bring you on the podcast and discuss one of the most recent migration alerts, really it's the first migration alert we've done of the season coming out of the Great Lakes region, Midwest area, talking teal, early geese. So, you know, let's go ahead and kick it off with it right in your backyard in Indiana. I think that's a good place to start. What are the conditions looking like

00:37 Jay Anglin and what are you hearing from people on the ground? You know, the biggest takeaway really from, you know, everybody I've spoken with and my personal observations is we're still really dry and we did get some moisture, you know, a month ago or so things started to look a lot better. And as Tony Vanamore alluded to in the, you know, in the alert, they actually got a lot of rain down there and it kind of saved them. Up here, we got, you know, a fair amount of precipitation over the course of a few weeks, filled up some wetlands and stuff, but, you know, it didn't really, it didn't stay, you know, it soaked up, which it's sort of a double-edged sword. In some ways it's, you know, rough because there's not a lot of water, you know, to work with as far as, you know, especially with teal hunting, because they're, you know, they prefer a marshy environment as opposed to like some open lake somewhere. But, you know, on the upside, there's a lot of moist soil vegetation and that can be said for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, everybody really pretty much heavy, heavy moist soil vegetation flushes. So, you know, here I have not seen many teal, but with all the vegetation, you know, a couple of the biologists I spoke with said it's been really difficult to survey the marshes because you really can't see, you know, unless you're there when they're actually flying and get to see them, it's really difficult to find those little pockets, those little nooks and crannies, you know, that we can find in, you know, flooded vegetation. So, you know, I suspect there's a lot more teal here than we realize. You know, as far as geese go, the mold migrants, we're just starting to see a handful come in and the local hatches were, you know, were great. So there's plenty of geese, but, you know, they're not feeding all that much. They're mostly still stuck on grass. There's a few birds hitting some corn silage fields and, you know, the seed corn's coming out pretty quick in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, kind of working its way northward. And that's, of course, a big game changer once they start taking the seed corn out, you know, pretty much all of the geese and a lot of the doves jump into that. So we're kind of in transition right now. And as you said, you know, we're cooling down and thankfully it's gonna be a legit cool down. So we're looking at, you know, around here, as far as the high or the upper 40s at night, you know, north of here, you know, dipping down into the low 40s in some cases. So I suspect with clear skies and cool temps and some favorable winds, we're gonna see, you know, pretty good push of a teal. And of course some of those more migrant geese as well come through, you know, Indiana

03:02 Chris Jennings and some of these other states. Yeah, I saw you had some reports from Goose Pond down there in Southern Indiana too. That's a pretty good spot to blue wing hunt when they have water.

03:13 Jay Anglin What's the water situation look like down there? So it's just like everywhere else. They probably have, you know, more water than some places because they're able to move some water around. But it sounds like they have pockets of water in a lot of those zones. But again, it's so heavily vegetated that's gonna make it really difficult to see birds. And then in a lot of the places where there's water, there's a mud flat around the water. So you've sort of got this, you know, situation where you're gonna have to hike around, you know, really do your scouting, you know, if anybody's scouting needs to be there when they're flying. So you're talking about, you know, dawn and dusk, you kind of see where they're dropping in. And then I think I would caution people, like for example, with me, with my knees, I'm just not gonna be tromping around in chin deep mud. I'm not doing it anymore. It's probably why my knees are all blown up anyway, you know? So, you know, just keep that in mind. We're talking some pretty soupy stuff. And I've heard every biologist mention that. They say, you know, there's gonna be a lot of mud, a lot of mud, a lot of mud. And so, you know, that's definitely down there gonna be an issue, but that said, they do have, it sounds like a fair number of birds. And that's good to hear because that is definitely a teal hotspot. There's no question about it. It's ideal habitat. And it's, you know, far enough south that if they get past us, they're kind of a bullseye,

04:27 Chris Jennings you know, for a lot of birds pushing down. Yeah, you know, let's kind of go around from state to state here. In your kind of comprehensive alert, you did a really good job of breaking that down into states and in different areas. But one of the consistent themes that you had in there was one, it's dry, you know, we've already mentioned that. But two, there was a lot of mention of, you know, you had some cooler weather last week in some of these Northern regions of the Great Lakes area. And with that full moon, that's pretty much moving weather for blue wings. So I know you mentioned, especially in Michigan, we'll start out in Michigan, you kind of mentioned that a lot of hunters were reporting

05:05 Jay Anglin that they just weren't seeing the numbers. Yeah, so this has happened pretty frequently over the past, say, five seasons. I've seen it here quite a bit in Northern Indiana. And I hear the same thing from the guys in Michigan, especially in the Southern tier of the state. You know, we get a pretty good numbers of blue wings built up. And of course, there are some local blue wings and around here in a few of the marshes, you know, I saw some broods this year. And then, you know, we get these classic teal migration scenarios, just like, you know, what you just mentioned last week was about as good as it gets. And we lost a lot of teal and we lost pretty much all of our doves. And so doves are kind of a good, you know, way to track teal movement because they're sort of lockstep in a lot of ways, you know, it's just the doves are a heck of a lot easier to see and observe from the road and our travels and stuff. But it's not good for us necessarily, looking at the opener coming. But on the other hand, guys down South should be really, really loaded up by now. I would think you'd have a lot of birds that got past us and moved on. So yeah, I mean, I think this week with the cool down and again, those cooler nights, I think it's gonna recharge some of these areas. It's just a matter of, are you gonna, you know, unless you're out there, you're just not gonna know they're there. And you may not even get a good survey from anybody unless they're in the air, such as the guys at Forbes over in Illinois. And they're able to get up high enough to where they can actually see some of these, you know, areas where the birds are just tucked way back

06:28 Chris Jennings in the middle of nowhere, you know. Yeah, they kind of mentioned the same thing where there's just a lot of mud flats out there on the Illinois river, especially. Kind of get into that a little bit. And what were they,

06:38 Jay Anglin what was the report that they were providing you? Well, Josh Osborne, you know, he's in the air with Aaron Yetter. And they're, of course, about as good as you could ever imagine anybody being when it comes to observing waterfowl. They have an opportunity to do it weekly. And a lot of practice and their techniques are well-honed. So they know where to go and where to look. And, you know, where the key players are as far as wildlife areas and private marshes. And, you know, they're down a little bit, certainly in the Illinois, you know, anything under 10%, you know, as far as the long-term average isn't really that profound. And I saw we're on the Mississippi. There was a little more than that, you know, it was up over 10%. But again, that sort of indicative of what happened last week with birds pushing out. One thing I would point out though, is Josh had mentioned to me this morning is, and also in his report is the drawdowns along the Illinois river valley, as far as, you know, state, federal and private, you know, land, you know, parcels. You know, they've drawn down, they've let them grow. And, you know, assuming they get, you know, they get rain, they have plenty of vegetation for waterfowl. So that's really gonna bode well for waterfowl coming through Illinois into the Mississippi, you know, fly away, you know, the central part of the fly away later on this season. I think that can be said for a lot of places, you know, there's gonna be a lot of food for birds. So hopefully that goes all the way up into Minnesota, Wisconsin, you know, obviously the rest of the Great Lakes region and the Midwest, but hopefully, you know, that'll hold some birds. And we won't have this situation where these birds, you know, come and stay for a day or two and then boogie. And then of course the season's down south, they're not open yet. So, you know, actually I think it bodes well for us,

08:15 Chris Jennings looking, you know, looking ahead. Yeah, looking at the regular season that does, you know, having that food in place for when you get water, that's always a good thing to have. Now you talked to a couple people in Minnesota as well. I think they're fairly new to the blue wing, early blue wings season. I don't know right off the top of my head how long they've been doing it, but I know it's fairly recent. Which doctor out there in Minnesota

08:37 Jay Anglin and what did they have to say? I talked to Brett Amundson and, you know, I also texted a friend of mine and he said he was seeing some as well up further north. You know, Minnesota is a production state as well, of course, and with its proximity to the Dakotas, when you're talking to Western, you know, say Northwestern third of the state, certainly there's plenty of teal, you know, that are in Minnesota now and have been probably for a while, but they probably would see a lot of birds pushed through to get further south, you know, in terms of blue wings. You know, I'm sure they enjoy the heck out of it. I always have. I mean, we've had it in Indiana forever and, you know, Michigan, when they finally got their season in Wisconsin, it took a couple of years for guys to really get revved up. But one thing I've learned about teal is, you can go out and see zero teal and say, oh, I'm not gonna go tomorrow. But really the bigger, you know, the fact of the matter is there's so many teal and so many migrate at the same kind of time, you know, basically in the same sort of, you know, two, three week window, you can go out pretty much any day in a good area where you have good habitat and you're in, you know, within a decent proximity to some migration corridors and see migrating teal and have a really good shot of getting a few to come in. So I'm sure they're getting pretty good at it.

09:53 Chris Jennings You know how Minnesota is, those guys are waterfowlers. Oh yeah, yeah, they're probably not wasting any time there. You know, one consistent theme across the board in your report was, you know, it sounds like, you know, Canada goose numbers are pretty strong. Those early seasons will be kicking off as well. Some probably already have. What are you hearing from the guys who are out there

10:13 Jay Anglin goose hunting? You know, we opened Saturday in Indiana, Michigan opened Friday. I was gonna go Friday. The birds were, you know, there were guys that really got into them, don't get me wrong. I mean, if you were on a good X near a good roost, you did well. With this heat that we've had and as well fed as they are, a lot of them are just kind of loafing. You know, they go to a golf course or find a pasture somewhere and just belly up for the day and pick grass. So I suspect with this cool down this week, that'll really start to shape up for a lot of guys. I do know for a fact though, that quite a few more migrants are starting to really get down in through Ontario and push down into these states that, you know, when the more migrants leave in, you know, May, June, all of a sudden you just don't see as many geese. And then the next, you know, the next thing that happens is that sometime in September, all of a sudden you get up one morning, there's geese everywhere. And I feel like that's gonna happen here any day, especially where I am in Northern Indiana. We're definitely do. But yeah, I know there's plenty of birds as always. And it's not getting any easier to find ground to hunt, but you know, if you do your homework and scout and get out there and bang on doors, you're bound to find some success.

11:21 Chris Jennings There's no doubt about it. Yeah, and I think that's the exciting thing about the early resident goose seasons and early teal is it's really opportunity to kind of knock the dust off of everything, all your gear, get that first shot at waterfowl. Like you said, sometimes it can be pretty hot. These hunts can be miserable. I remember when I lived up in Indiana, I did some of the early goose season several times and it was just almost unbearably hot to be out there, you know, in a world where you're so accustomed to being cold, you know, you're out there hot. It's like, this is weird, but good times all around. Opportunities do exist.

11:59 Jay Anglin Did you get any information out of Ohio? You know, it basically, it was what I, you know, I gleaned from Southeast Michigan and that a lot of the birds move through. They did have decent number of birds. I'm sure there's plenty of birds along the coast of Lake Erie. I mean, the Western Basin Lake Erie is so much waterfowl habitat. Some of it's moist soil, some of it's flooded, you know, some of it's cropland sometimes, but you have, you know, plenty of marsh. And so there are definitely some birds lurking around Ohio, you know, but as far as like success, I did not get any good reports from my usual contacts. How's that?

12:36 Chris Jennings I'll put it that way. That's good. Hey, before we get you out of here, we're gonna wrap this up just as a quick little hunting habitat update, but before we get you out of here,

12:44 Jay Anglin how's the fishing up there? Oh, it's real good. I mean, you know, the same things that apply to waterfowl apply to the fishing. So, you know, I'm kind of in transition from the warm water into the cold water species. So I go from small mouth bass and musky and stuff like that into salmon and steelhead. And, you know, last week I was all fired up that it was gonna be this week. And then all of a sudden we got into the nineties and the hundred degree weather. And so, you know, changing gears, but yeah, fishing's been, you know, no matter what I go for, it seems like I always do pretty well. So, you know, the water conditions are low, clear water, and I actually like it. It makes it a little more difficult, but it sure is a lot prettier to look at

13:20 Chris Jennings than, you know, dirty water, that's for sure. Well, Jay did a great job with the alert, great job providing update for the Great Lakes region. And we're gonna go ahead and get you out of here, but we're gonna stay in touch because I know you've got some more alerts coming out, especially some in the middle of this month. Again, we'll get you back on and kind of talk through it.

13:34 Jay Anglin I appreciate you coming on. Hey, thanks for having me.

13:37 Chris Jennings Always love being here. I'd like to thank my guest, Jay Englund, who provides migration alerts for ducks.org. If you guys are looking for those, go to ducks.org slash migration, you will find them. I'd like to thank our producer, Chris Isaac, putting the show together and getting it out to you. And I'd like to thank you, the listeners, for joining us on the DU Podcast and supporting wetlands conservation.

Creators and Guests

Chris Jennings
Ducks Unlimited Podcast Outdoor Host
Ep. 503 – Bonus: Great Lakes Region Teal and Early-Goose Update