Hunters can get help preparing for the fall hunting seasons by consulting the 2019 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook publication, available on the Division of Natural Resources website, www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/PDFFiles/2019MastSurvey.pdf. Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.
Since 1971, the Wildlife Resources Section of DNR, 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.
Production of black/red oak acorns, apple and black cherry is significantly higher than the past year and will have effects on the 2019–2020 hunting seasons, according to the report. White and chestnut oak are down significantly from last year and well below their long-term average.
“The availability of fall foods has significant impacts on wildlife populations and harvests,” said Chris Ryan, supervisor of the Game Management Services of DNR’s Wildlife Resources Section. “It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas they hunt. 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.”