South Dakota’s duck hunts might start earlier

Capitol News Bureau

MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — Duck seasons in South Dakota might start a few days earlier in coming years.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission agreed Thursday to look at changing the opening dates for hunters.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 5, at 2 p.m. CT in Pierre.

If the commission adopts the changes, the 2020 youth season for hunters younger than age 16 would run September 12-13, while the 2020 general season would open Saturday, September 26, for the low plains north and low plains middle zones.

Currently the low plains north and low plains middle zones open on the last Saturday in September. The proposal would move the opener to the Saturday closest to September 24.

Wildlife program administrator Chad Switzer said the change for the main season would allow an earlier start four times — 2023, 2024, 2028 and 2029 — during the next 10 years. The seasons would start the same dates either way the other six years.

South Dakota produces many blue-winged teal, and the earlier dates would let hunters get out sooner, Switzer said. Why not give hunters the opportunity when weather is favorable and ducks are here, he asked.

As for moving up the youth season, Switzer told commissioners: “We think that’s something positive to bring to you for discussion.”

The duck seasons would have the same bag limit as this year but would allow for one scaup, down from the current three.

One other proposed change would reduce permits for the 2020 season for hunting tundra swans. The proposal would drop permits to 1,100 for residents and 200 for nonresidents. This year there were 1,425 for residents and 250 for nonresidents.

No changes were proposed for:

The goose season that starts August 15 in Pennington County;

The early fall Canada goose season that starts September 5 in many counties;

The main goose season that starts September 26 statewide for light geese and white-fronted geese, and October 1 for Canada geese in unit one;

The special Canada goose season that starts October 19 in Bennett County, with 800 three-tag licenses available;

The sandhill cranes season that starts September 26 in the western four-fifths of the state;

The common snipe season that starts September 1; and

The special spring light-goose conservation season that opens February 15, 2021.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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