BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An annual survey shows a 20 percent drop in pheasants in South Dakota, but officials say hunting should still be good this fall.

The Game, Fish and Parks survey includes 110 30-mile routes. The pheasants-per-mile index dropped from 3.83 last year to 3.05.

Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler says the drop follows two years of substantial increases. He also notes that this year's index is higher than the 2.7 pheasants per mile observed in 2014, when hunters harvested 1.2 million roosters.

Hepler says "good pheasant hunting opportunities will exist in 2016."

Pheasants are big business in South Dakota — with tens of thousands of out-of-state hunters spending tens of millions of dollars every year.

The statewide pheasant season opens Saturday, Oct. 15, and runs through next Jan. 1.

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