Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook Available


Mar 11, 2001
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Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook Available


The 2009 "Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook" is available on the Division of Natural Resources' Web site and at DNR district offices, according to Randy Tucker, Wildlife Biologist for the DNRWildlife Resources Section. Since 1970, 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 a significant impact on wildlife populations and harvests," said Tucker. "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 impact on harvests, the amount of food available each year can affect the reproductive success of numerous species which will affect population sizes in the following years."

Production of acorns, walnuts, beechnuts and hickory nuts are well below the 39-year average and will have noticeable effects on the 2009-2010 hunting seasons. "It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas that they hunt," Tucker added. "Hunters can find a wealth of knowledge in the 'Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook' and it should provide them valuable information before heading into the field."

Certain species of wildlife will move larger distances in search of food due to the reduced amount of mast in 2009. West Virginia residents are reminded to make sure that bird seed, pet food and trash are properly stored so that roaming wildlife, particularly black bears, do not become a nuisance.

Copies of the 2009 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook may be found on the DNR Web site at under "Hunting." Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests is also available on the Web site.

Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section 304-558-2771

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