The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department says this year's tally of young pheasants is a good sign bird numbers in the state are expected to increase a year after one of its lowest roadside counts in three decades.
The department released its annual brood count Tuesday. Officials found an average of 2.68 pheasants per mile, a 76 percent increase from 1.52 in 2013.
The report says below-average snowfall this winter and near-average rain this spring likely helped some of the population rebound.
The 2014 count is still 53 percent lower than the state's 10-year average of 5.75.
Officials survey more than a hundred 30-mile pheasant brood routes throughout the state from July 25 to Aug. 15.