The 2013 mast survey and hunting outlook is available on the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ website and will be available soon at DNR offices across the state, according to Curtis I. Taylor, chief of the DNR 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 a 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 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.”
“It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas that they hunt,” he added. “Areas that have any oak mast will concentrate animals early in the season but most of it should be consumed by mid-fall. Hunters will have to shift their localized hunting spots to take advantage of these mast conditions.”
Copies may be found at www.wvdnr.gov under “Hunting.” Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.