SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's pheasant season opens Saturday, with the expectation that hunters will enjoy a better year than in 2014.

State wildlife officials estimate that the number of birds is up 42 percent this year due to a second consecutive year of favorable winter and spring weather. The pheasants-per-mile index is similar to 2011, when hunters bagged nearly 1.6 million birds.

South Dakota's Game, Fish and Parks Department estimates that pheasant hunting last year boosted the state's economy by more than $150 million. The season attracts not only in-state hunters but also an influx of nonresidents.

Bradley Carson came from Greenville, South Carolina, to hunt. He tells the Capital Journal that there isn't a lot of opportunity in his home state.

The season ends next Jan. 3.

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