(10/08/2012)
West Virginia hunters on the lookout for raccoons, deer or bears will have good luck this season depending on where they decide to hunt, according to the state Division of Natural Resources' annual mast survey.

State trees produced slightly more fruit this year than in 2011, but those crops are not consistent throughout the state. Some areas will experience a bumper crop of acorns, cherries, chestnuts and other mast, while others will see scarce production of those same crops, according to the report.

The mast crop in Calhoun and region appears good.

Curtis Taylor, wildlife resources section chief for the DNR, said high-elevation areas like Randolph, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties generally have seen a drop in mast production this year.

Varying mast production is largely caused by weather. Researchers predict the state's raccoon harvest will increase over 2011 levels. This year's spotty oak production could limit the number of raccoons in some areas, but good cherry production in other areas will lead to increased raccoon populations there.

The state's buck and antlerless deer harvests also should be higher in 2012, according to the report.

Researchers predict an increase in reproduction, and last year's mild winter should lead to many 1 1/2-year-old deer in the woods.

Hunters in some counties could see fewer animals because of localized Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease outbreaks.

Taylor said the DNR identified EHD cases in Mason, Calhoun, Jefferson, Mason, Monroe, Pleasant and Greenbrier counties last year.


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