PIERRE, S.D. – Hunters targeting canvasbacks and pintails are reminded that the state’s seasons for these ducks closes at sunset on Nov. 1 in most areas of the state. The only exception is for the Low Plains South Zone, which will remain open through Nov. 15.
According to state Waterfowl Biologist Spencer Vaa, the federal framework for these two species was again restricted to 39 days in the Central Flyway in order to limit the harvest on both species.
"Pintails have been in a long-term decline in North America for several decades, due primarily to the conversion of grassland nesting habitat to cropland. Another factor has been wetland drainage," he said. "Canvasback populations, on the other hand, have been remarkably stable over the past 50 years, but their population has always been low compared to most other duck species."
Like last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working with the states within the Flyway Council system of cooperative management, decided that a partial season was the most appropriate regulatory prescription for both pintails and canvasbacks.
"Many experienced duck hunters rank the canvasback as the 'king' of the ducks, as they are very strong fliers and excellent table fare," Vaa said, "and a late-season bull canvasback is truly a beauty to behold."
Vaa also encourages duck hunters to pursue their sport now, saying that this is prime time for duck hunting and some of the best duck hunting in the entire U.S. occurs right here in South Dakota. He expects a strong flight of ducks out of Canada will boost hunters' success in late October through November, depending upon weather fronts.