South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks field staff created the maps below by rating areas of each county on a scale of 1-10 regarding the current quality of waterfowling opportunity. That said, arctic weather conditions in 2020 mirrored those of 2018, which was a terrible year for light goose production. Come get a front row seat to the migration on some spring snow goose hunting in South Dakota. Mallard number have been steady to increasing and should continue to build as rough weather in southern Canada pushes birds out. Small to large wetlands remain ice covered but with wind and the warm temperatures in the forecast, some of these will open back up. Now Booking for spring 2021 snow goose conservation order! - Aldo Leopold. Sand Lake NWR is now holding approximately 500,000+ snow geese, as well as several thousand Canada geese and white-fronted geese. Temperatures in the SE part of the state do not appear to be is cold as the rest of the state and these potholes are anticipated to remain open. Spring Snows - Se Missouri & South Dakota // Fall Goose and Duck Hunts - Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota & Western Minnesota I would not say we have any abundance of mallards around but there are some pockets here and there. Rafts of shovelers continue to use larger bodies of water but will likely be continuing south soon. Hunters should expect a good opening weekend with a mixed bag to be the norm. Canada goose numbers are strong with little hunting pressure observed. The biggest change is it appears that there are less teal around than the past couple of weeks. A little scouting is encouraged to make sure your favorite pond has water yet. However, I only saw a small handful of ducks on the entire trip. Other species such as mallards, shovelers, gadwall, and pintail are also around in good numbers. Stable, moderate, dry weather was the norm for this week. Voters approved the Amendment by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. Little to no rain has fallen in the last few weeks adding to the drawdown of the wetlands. It appears like we may have lost some ducks over the past week with the cold temperatures we had a couple nights. With the low population the birds that are here they have been very hard to get a pattern on them making it very difficult to hunt. I would not say a lot has changed from the previous week for new birds in the area as the weather was unseasonably warm with record temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s. Call us (605) 695-1025 A near constant migration of light geese was observed over the weekend. This will concentrate ducks, but hunters should make sure to check out their hunting spots to make sure vegetation isn’t too far away from the water. It remains to be seen if the lakes will open back up with a good wind or if enough ice is present to start the base for the winter. The high plains duck season will be ending on January 14 giving hunters a little more time, with the nice weather they have continued to remain on the water during shooting hours so opportunities for them on land has been very limited. Snow geese moved into the Refuge in large numbers over the weekend. Most of the ice cover remained this past week on area lakes making the last few days of duck season a struggle for most hunters. Groups of shovelers will create a vortex by all turning in the same direction, concentrating food for the group. These geese are roosting on some of the larger ponds and feeding in the harvested and freshly planted wheat fields. Heard some flocks of cranes the last couple of days but with the high winds I assume they have continued south. Every year during late February through mid April thousands of snow geese make their annual migration back north through South Dakota. Diving duck numbers are also building on the bigger water and decent concentrations of most species are showing up. Snow geese remain in large concentrations and ample opportunity remains for both decoy and pass shooting. Most of the crop harvest has been completed with a few cornfields to go. River flow rates are relatively high, assisting in the erosion of ice in the river channel area. Many days the ducks have not been coming off the water until the last half hour of shooting light. Small flocks of snow geese and Canada geese were observed flying north through Brown County over the past weekend. Goose abundance remains good, with most birds holding on large, ice free lakes. 4/9/2020. With that being said, duck and goose numbers remain about the same as they have been only now are concentrated in open pockets on the lakes. Yesterday they had a mixed bag of teal and mallards and did report seeing a small flock of cranes in a field adjacent to where they were hunting. It would be a great time to concentrate on the geese as they are abundant, and you could pick up a few ducks as well. Some movement of pintails has also been observed but this generally is not a major migration yet. There hasn’t been much of a migration into the Pierre area especially on Lake Oahe. Opening day success was fairly high in the SE corner of the state. I am hopeful that the strong cold front expected to arrive Sunday and Monday will bring down some new birds. The weather this past week has been a mix of warm days and those closer to normal with some icing of the small waters. Local production of geese was good with scattered concentrations of Canada geese providing good early season opportunity. Weather looks to be more seasonable for the upcoming week with highs in the mid 30’s but little to no snow is in the forecast so the geese should hang tough for at least another week. Due to COVID concerns the board made the decision to cancel the 31st annual hunt that was scheduled for January 15-17 2021. Survey areas for each of these summaries is also listed below. Fish & Wildlife Service in August, the population estimate for mid-continent lesser snow geese declined by 14 percent, or 1.57 million geese. There are a few hundred Canada geese scattered out on Lake Oahe, ducks on Oahe are scattered out in small bunches up and down the lake. The main migration right now would be the blue-winged teal as they generally start to head south in late August and continue through September. Great opportunity for decoy hunting exists as well as pass shooting on windy days. Light goose number are likely at or near peak and are concentrated on larger lakes and surrounding fields. Swan numbers typically peak in the Northeast about this time of year but with the recent cold snap, numbers are low right now. Spent a few hours this week on the east and west side of Lake Oahe checking out areas for waterfowl. Ducks Unlimited's Light Goose Migration Headquarters contains hunting tactics and essential tools for understanding bird behavior and real-time Migration Alerts to keep hunters abreast of a constantly shifting, fast-paced migration. Fall 2020 Migration Reports Sand Lake NWR is perhaps most notably known for the impressive concentrations of migrating waterfowl that use the refuge as a pit stop along the way to their wintering grounds. Most all of the stock dams are mostly frozen. (KELO) — At the beginning of December, we brought you to Lake Byron to show you the annual migration south for a large flock of geese. Most all of the water that was frozen has opened back up again with the warm temperatures. 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