ELKINS, W.VA. — Hunters preparing for the fall hunting seasons can now consult the 2020 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook, available on the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website. Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.
With the help of volunteers from various agencies, the Wildlife Resources Section of the WVDNR has conducted a fall mast survey each year since 1971 to determine the abundance of mast produced by 18 species of trees and shrubs.
“Hunters can find a wealth of facts in the Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook and it should provide them with a lot of valuable information they need before heading into the field,” said Chris Ryan, supervisor of the Game Management Services of DNR’s Wildlife Resources Section.
In the survey, the Wildlife Resources Section reports that production of red and black oak acorns and scarlet oak acorns are the only species higher than the long-term average, which will have significant effects on the 2020-21 hunting seasons. White and chestnut oak, hickory, beech, walnut and all soft mast species are down significantly from last year and well below their long-term average.
“Hunters really need to get out and scout this year,” Ryan said. “White oak production was very limited but red and black oak was good, so hunters should concentrate their efforts in areas with ample red and black oak trees.”