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Duck Hunting

Northeastern South Dakota is part of the major waterfowl breeding grounds known as the "Prairie Pothole" region. This country was scarred by glaciers many centuries ago and now is dotted with lakes, sloughs and streams where ducks abound.

This is part of what makes South Dakota a duck hunter's paradise. Not only do you have this rich setting for ducks, but also unique settings along major rivers like the Missouri, James and Big Sioux; jumping ducks on stock dams in western South Dakota; and the forested streams of the Black Hills.

Duck hunting seasons are set in early August after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued South Dakota federally mandated guidelines for the hunting seasons.

Season Information

Daily Limits

Ducks: 6 and comprised of no more than:
  • 5 Mallards, which may include no more than 2 hens
  • 3 Scaup
  • 3 Wood Ducks
  • 2 Redheads
  • 2 Pintail
  • 1 Canvasback
  • 2 BONUS blue-winged teal (first 16 days of season only)
    (Low Plains North & Middle Zones: Sept. 27-Oct. 12
    High Plains and Low Plains South Zones: Oct. 11-26)

Mergansers: 5 (including no more than 2 hooded merganser)

Coots: 15

Possession Limit

Three times the daily limit for each species.


One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Duck Hunting Zones

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High Plains Zone

Low Plains - North Zone

Low Plains - Middle Zone

Low Plains - South Zone

Youth Waterfowl

Besides the opportunity to introduce young people to waterfowl hunting during the regular seasons, a weekend is set aside for youth hunting. Also, adults may take youth as young as 10 years hunting through the Mentored Hunt program.

Nontoxic Shot

Approved nontoxic shot includes steel shot, bismuth-tin, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, and any combination of tungsten-iron-nickel-tin-copper-bismuth. Coated lead shot does not qualify as nontoxic shot. Tom Roster's Nontoxic Shot Lethality Table © 2012

Antelope Island Restrictions

The Antelope Island area* south of Pierre on Lake Sharpe has the following restrictions:

*The area within the water's edge from a north-south line across Lake Sharpe through the dredged channel at the east end of Hipple Lake, downstream to the north-south line across the reservoir 100 yards east of the easternmost emergent vegetation on Antelope Islan