West Virginia's statewide squirrel season opens on September 8 and runs through January 31, 2013, according to Curtis l. Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).

This is the second year in a row that the season opens in early September, providing hunters with more time to pursue the state's most popular small game species.

"Mild weather conditions in September and longer days offer a great opportunity to take a youngster hunting," said Taylor.

Poor hard mast crops in 2011 reduced squirrel production this year, so hunters will find fewer during the fall hunting season.

Mast conditions during the previous year influence the survival and productivity of current year squirrel populations.

"Despite last year's poor mast conditions, squirrel hunters should not get discouraged because the state's squirrel population remains strong," said Taylor.

Early season squirrel hunters should find success with proper scouting and by focusing their attention on mast-producing species such as hickory.

The daily bag limit for squirrel is six, with a possession limit of 24. Hunters should check the 2012-2013 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Brochure for additional information or visit the DNR's website at www.wvdnr.gov.

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