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Duck Hunting

Eastern South Dakota is part of the major waterfowl breeding grounds known as the "Prairie Pothole" region. This country was scarred by glaciers thousands of years ago 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 stockponds.

This is part of what makes South Dakota a duck hunter's paradise. Not only do you have classic pothole hunting for ducks, but also unique opportunities 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 spring after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued South Dakota federally mandated guidelines for the hunting seasons.

Duck Season Structure



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
  • 1 Pintail
  • 2 Canvasbacks

2 Bonus blue-winged teal (first 16 days of season only)

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