FARGO, N.D. (AP) — After weathering ups and downs in wetland conditions for the last few years, duck hunters in North Dakota and South Dakota are seeing positive trends in the popular waterfowl states. The optimism is similar to that of Minnesota. 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual fall survey shows that duck hunting wetlands have increased about 65% statewide from a year ago. Officials cite record conditions in the south central and southeastern parts of the state.

Tom Moorman, chief scientist for Ducks Unlimited, says eastern North Dakota and South Dakota saw increases in both ponds and breeding waterfowl. He says there are dry conditions in Canada that typically drive some species into the Dakotas.

The regular duck hunting season opens Saturday in North Dakota. In South Dakota, it opens on Sept. 28 in some areas and Oct. 12 in others.