Sandhill Crane hunting
- Season Dates: Sept. 26 - Nov. 22 -
- Daily Limit: 3
- Possession Limit: 9
- Open Area: South Dakota west of US 281
- Shooting hours one-half hour before sunrise to sunset
- Hunters must use nontoxic shot when hunting cranes
Sandhill Crane, while famous for massing in great numbers along the Platte River in Nebraska and at wildlife refuges in the far South, do migrate through South Dakota in the spring and fall. The fall migration offers a unique hunting opportunity for those in the right place at the right time.
The fall migration may occur from late October through mid November. These large birds use a wingspan of over 6 feet to float on thermals and stay aloft for hours. Cranes roost in wetland areas as evening approaches and fly into feeding grounds in the early morning.
Sandhill crane may be accompanied by the endangered whooping crane on occasion. Hunters must be aware of this and certain of their target. Here is additional information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Residents: Combination, or Small Game, or Junior Combination, or Youth Small Game, or 1-Day Small Game. All hunters must have the South Dakota Migratory Bird Certification. The Federal Waterfowl Stamp is not required.
- Nonresidents: Nonresident Small Game or Nonresident Waterfowl (hunting during valid period of license only). Small Game license holders must also have South Dakota Migratory Bird Certification. Certification is included with Waterfowl license. Federal Waterfowl Stamp is not required.