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South Dakota



Sandhill Crane Seasons

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill cranes, while famous for massing in great numbers along the Platte River in Nebraska, do migrate through South Dakota in the spring and fall. The fall migration offers a unique hunting opportunity for those in the right place at the right time.

The fall migration may occur from late October through mid-November. These large birds use a wingspan of over 6 feet to float on thermals and stay aloft for hours. Cranes roost in wetland areas as evening approaches and fly to feed in fields in the early morning.

Sandhill crane may be accompanied by the endangered whooping crane on occasion. Hunters must be aware of this and certain of their target.

SEASON INFORMATION Hunters must use nontoxic shot when hunting cranes.

Daily Limit:


Possession Limit:


Open Area:

That portion of the state lying west of a line beginning at the South Dakota-North Dakota border and State Highway 25, south on State Highway 25 to its junction with State Highway 34, east on State Highway 34 to its junction with U.S. Highway 81, then south on U.S. Highway 81 to the South Dakota-Nebraska border.

Shooting Hours:

One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.



Combination; Small Game; Junior Combination; Youth Small Game; or 1-Day Small Game. All hunters must have the South Dakota Migratory Bird Certification. The Federal Waterfowl Stamp is not required.


Nonresident Small Game or Nonresident Waterfowl (hunting during valid period of license only). Small Game license holders must also have South Dakota Migratory Bird Certification. Certification is included with Waterfowl license. Federal Waterfowl Stamp is not required.

Key Dates

Sandhill Crane Season | 2024Season Dates
Start: Sep 28, 2024
End: Nov 24, 2024