Eastern South Dakota is located within the important waterfowl breeding grounds known as the "Prairie Pothole" region. The area was scarred by glaciers at the end of the last ice age resulting in landscape dotted with lakes, wetlands and streams where ducks abound. Areas west of the Missouri River can be important waterfowl production areas as well, with vast areas of intact grassland, rivers and stock ponds.
These wetland resources are what make South Dakota a duck hunter's paradise. From small pothole hunting with a dozen decoys, layout blinds in corn fields for feeding ducks, or hunting big water on the Missouri River or glacial lakes, South Dakota provides many duck hunting opportunities.
Duck hunting seasons are set in early spring after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued South Dakota federally mandated guidelines for the hunting seasons. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Drought conditions across the Prairie Pothole Region were evident this year with 27 percent of all ducks banded being young-of-year birds.
This type of production will continue to be evident with our duck banding efforts if everyone supports saving and protecting adequate nesting cover (CRP and grasslands) and wetlands.
Our wetlands, especially in the Prairie Coteau region, are of important quality meeting molting requirements for adult male wood ducks coming from many southern state’s populations. This is exemplified by the high proportion (84%) of total number (1,560) of wood ducks captured and banded this year were adult males (1,310). Many of these newly banded adult males will be recovered throughout many southern states. Also, this year 23 percent of the total number (784) of mallards banded was adult males (179).
Duck banding efforts began on August 13 and continued through September 22.
Capture methods were by rocket netting and a total of 14 rocket net shots were conducted during this time period. We utilized 4 rocket net sites in Hamlin and Day counties.
Total of ducks banded in 2021 under the GFP banding permit was 2,365 ducks.
Species of Ducks Banded:
Wood Duck: 1,560
Green-winged Teal: 15
American wigeon: 1
Possession limit is three times the daily limit for each species.
6 and comprised of no more than:
- 5 Mallards, which may include no more than 2 hens
- 1 Scaup
- 3 Wood Ducks
- 2 Redheads
- 1 Pintail
- 2 Canvasbacks
2 Bonus blue-winged teal (first 16 days of season only)
3 ducks of any species or sex per day (possession limit 9 ducks)
*Hunters must select a duck limit regulation option when purchasing their South Dakota Migratory Bird Certificate.
High Plains Zone
Boundary = South Dakota west of a line beginning at the North Dakota state line and extending south along US 83 to US 14; east on US 14 to the town of Blunt; south on the Blunt-Canning Road to SD 34; east and south on SD 34 to SD 50 at Lee's Corner; south on SD 50 to I-90; east on I-90 to SD 50; south on SD 50 to SD 44; west on SD 44 across the Platte-Winner Bridge to SD 47; south on SD 47 to US 18; east on US 18 to SD 47; south on SD 47 to the Nebraska state line.
Low Plains - North Zone
Boundary = South Dakota east of the boundary definition for High Plains, and north of a line beginning at the junction of US 83 and US 212; then east on US 212 to the Minnesota state line.
Low Plains - Middle Zone
Boundary = South Dakota east of the boundary definition for High Plains, and south of a line beginning at the junction of US 83 and US 212; then east on US 212 to the Minnesota state line; and north of a line beginning at the junction of SD 47 and the Nebraska state line; then north on SD 47 to SD 44; then east on SD 44 to SD 50; then south on SD 50 to CFAS 6198 (Geddes Highway) at Geddes; then east on Geddes Hwy to US 281; then south on US 281 to SD 50; then east on SD 50 to I-29; then south on I-29 to the Iowa state line.
Low Plains - South Zone
Boundary = South Dakota within a line beginning at the junction of SD 47 and the Nebraska border; then north on SD 47 to SD 44; then east on SD 44 to SD 50; then south on SD 50 to CFAS 6198 (Geddes Highway) at Geddes; then east on Geddes Hwy to US 281; then south on US 281 to SD 50; then east on SD 50 to I-29; then south on I-29 to the Iowa state line.