2023 Waterfowl Report
Anticipation is high in the Northeast for the duck opener this weekend. Wetland conditions vary across the region from drier in the Watertown area to full pool or above to the north and west. Many seasonal wetlands remain full to the western reaches of the area and are full of ducks. Numerous blue-winged teal in the area along with an array of other local ducks should provide solid gunning throughout the weekend. Wood duck numbers are also strong for now but will vacate the area soon along with the blue wings. Some field feeding has been observed in wheat and sileage fields.
Weather for the weekend does not look great with good chances of rain and storms so this may hamper the hunt for some.
Goose numbers remain constant with good opportunities at geese in the small grain and sileage. Some combined corn and beans fields are showing up as well.
Water conditions are ok, seasonal wetlands are fairly dry but there is still plenty of water in larger wetlands. Some teal have moved in out of the area the last few weeks and forecasted temperatures look good to keep them around for a little while. Duck numbers and conditions seem better the further west you get. The James river valley has decent early duck numbers anywhere there is shallow water. Corn and soybean harvest has not really started in the area but silage chopping has been going strong the last couple weeks, so some early field hunting opportunities can be found.
Conditions across Brookings, Kingsbury, Lake, and Moody counties are generally dry but where there is water good numbers of blue wing and green wing geal have been seen. Also, of note good number of pintails have been seen across the area along with pockets of mallards.
Scouting will be key for opening weekend as some wetlands that are normally hunted are dry or have large mud flats.
Corn and bean harvest has begun with both ducks and geese observed in recently harvested fields. Forecast for a rainy weekend may impact field hunting opportunities in the short term.
Canada goose numbers in this area are fair and should begin to build. Good luck to all that venture out for the opening weekend of the Low Plains North and Middle duck zones this Saturday.
Conditions have been very dry over the region, leaving many wetlands dry. Scouting to find huntable water will be the name of the game for opener. What water remains seems to have a fair number of local ducks along with some remaining blue-winged teal. Goose numbers have slightly increased over the last two weeks but remain low with limited water.
Harvest is still in the early stages, but a few dry-field hunting opportunities exist with scouting.
Extremely dry. Very minimal water. The water that is still around, has some good local duck numbers on it. Very low goose numbers around. Mixed success during August season, but minimal goose numbers around now.
Harvest is going very fast. Seeing a good amount of combined corn and bean fields this week already
Low Plains South Zone is closed
Low Plains Middle Zone-similar to SE report with limited water but where water exists good numbers of ducks have been seen.
Pierre Area/Central SD
Water conditions on our smaller lakes and ponds look good this year especially comparing it to last year.
I talked to a couple of parents who took the time to get their child out to hunt some waterfowl during the youth season and had a lot of fun and harvested some ducks.
I have been seeing a mix of ducks on the lakes and ponds in our low plains’ areas in Hughes and Sully County which should allow for some fun hunts when the season opens on the 23rd.
Farmers are planting winter wheat and preparing to start harvest, there are some drier areas where they have started to harvest some corn this week but most of the areas the crop moisture remains too high to harvest.