PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s fall waterfowl seasons were recently proposed by the Game, Fish and Parks Commission with minimal changes from last year. Most areas will open Sept. 24.
The only proposed changes for duck season would lower the scaup limit from three birds to two and delay the High Plains opening for one week. Otherwise, the daily bag limit would be six ducks, which could include no more than:
Five mallards, of which two may be hens.
Two wood ducks
Five mergansers, one of which can be hooded
Possession limits would be twice the daily limit.
Season dates would include:
High Plains: Oct. 1 through Nov. 8 for canvasbacks and pintails, and Oct. 1 through Dec. 13 and Dec. 17 through Jan. 8, 2006, for all other ducks, coots and mergansers. Hunters should note that these proposed opening dates are a week later than usual.
Low Plains North and Middle Zones: Sept. 24 through Nov. 1 for canvasbacks and pintails, and Sept. 24 through Dec. 6 for all other ducks, coots and mergansers.
Low Plains South Zone: Oct. 8 through Nov. 15 for canvasbacks and pintails, and Oct. 8 through Dec. 20 for all other ducks, coots and mergansers.
For South Dakota’s fall goose season, the area of Fall River and Custer counties that was in a special Canada goose hunting area in 2004 would be moved into fall Canada goose Unit 2. Other changes from last year would include:
Increase the Unit 1 Canada goose season from 91 to 93 days.
Increase the Unit 3 Canada goose season from 79 to 86 days.
Reduce the daily bag limit on white-fronted geese from two to one.
Season dates for Canada geese and brant would be:
Unit 1: Sept. 24 through Dec. 25.
Unit 2: Oct. 22 through Jan. 24, 2006.
Unit 3: Sept. 24 through Dec. 18.
Unit 4 (Bennett County): Jan. 7 – 15, 2006.
Statewide seasons for light geese and white-fronted geese would be Sept. 24 through Dec. 18.
Daily limits would be:
Three Canada geese, statewide, except in portions of Roberts and Grant counties where the limit is two Canada geese daily from Dec. 1-18.
20 light geese
One white-fronted goose.
All other geese, twice the daily limit.
Department Waterfowl Biologist Spencer Vaa of Brookings explained that scaup breeding populations sampled during the May Breeding Pair and Habitat Survey fell to 3.4 million, the lowest number recorded in the 50-year history of the survey. Also, white-fronted goose populations have been in decline for several years and more restrictive frameworks are expected.