DNR releases 2018 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook

ELKINS, W.Va. — Hunters getting ready for the fall hunting seasons can now consult the 2018 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook publication, available on the Hunting section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website at www.wvdnr.gov.

Since 1971, the DNR Wildlife Resources Section, in cooperation with volunteers from numerous other agencies, has conducted a fall mast survey to determine the abundance of mast produced by 18 species of trees and shrubs.

“The availability of fall foods has significant impacts on wildlife populations and harvests,” said Chris Ryan, supervisor of the Game Management Services for the DNR Wildlife Resources Section. “Our biologists have used the mast survey data to demonstrate a strong correlation between mast conditions and deer, bear and turkey harvests. In addition to the impacts on harvests, the amount of food available each year can affect the reproductive success of numerous species, which affects population in following years.”

Production of white oak acorns, walnuts and hickory nuts is significantly higher than the long-term average and will have effects on the 2018–2019 hunting seasons. Black/red oak, scarlet oak and black cherry are down significantly from last year and well below their long-term average.

“It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas they hunt,” Ryan said. “Hunters can find a wealth of facts in the Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook, and it should provide them valuable information before heading into the field.”

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