South Charleston, W.Va. - The 2011 "Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook" brochure is available at hunting license agents, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources offices and on DNR's website, according to Randy Tucker, wildlife biologist for the DNR Wildlife 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 and hickory nuts are well below the 41-year average and will have noticeable effects on the 2011-2012 hunting seasons. However, beechnuts and walnuts were well above their 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 Tucker. "Certain species of wildlife will move larger distances in search of food due to the reduced amount of mast in 2011. 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 2011 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook may be found on the DNR website at   www.wvdnr.gov   under "Hunting." Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests is also available on the website.

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