West Virginia 2014 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook

Posted on 09/23/2014

SOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia – The 2014 “Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook” is available on the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website and printed copies will soon be available at DNR offices across the state, according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section. Since 1971, the 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 impact on wildlife populations and harvests,” said Taylor. “Our biologists have used the mast survey data to demonstrate the 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 will affect population sizes in following years.”

Production of acorns is much improved over 2013 and will have noticeable effects on the 2014-2015 hunting seasons. However, hickory and beech produced mast well below the 43-year average. Considering all 18 species of trees and shrubs surveyed, food conditions are at the long-term average.

“It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas that they hunt,” added Taylor. “One of the primary traits of this year’s mast crop is its consistency across the landscape. 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.”

Copies of the 2014 “Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook” may be downloaded from the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov under “Hunting.” Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.

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