Recent rains across eastern South Dakota have helped improve wetland conditions, but the state remains abnormally dry one week into the duck season. Still, where hunters are finding water, they are finding locally produced mallards, gadwalls, wood ducks and blue-winged teal, helping to kick-start the season.
Veteran South Dakota hunter and guide Ben Fujan has been targeting pockets of mallards that are bouncing from wetlands to surrounding fields of combined soybeans and corn.
“We’ve had a string of days with temperatures in the upper 80s to 90s and the ducks have not moved around as much in the mornings, but afternoon hunts have been a bit more productive than normal, it seems,” reports Fujan. “There are decent local mallard and other puddle duck numbers around, and I’m seeing a fair number of divers in places, too.”
Canada goose numbers in South Dakota remain a bright spot, and the big birds have been a bonus in the bag for Fujan over the past week.
“We have also killed two lesser Canada geese this week, so there must have been some sort of small migration that went on with the cold snap we had earlier in the month,” Fujan says.