The annual Hunting Outlook and Mast Survey provides details about the abundance of mast (wild fruits and nuts) produced by 18 species of trees and shrubs and forecasted impacts to West Virginia’s wildlife.
“White and chestnut oak production was up dramatically above last year and also above the long-term average,” said Chris Ryan, supervisor of the Game Management Services of WVDNR’s Wildlife Resources Section. “White oak acorns are some of the most preferred wildlife foods in West Virginia and they will have an impact on wildlife movements and hunters’ harvests this fall.
Soft mast production was down in 2022 after a tremendous crop in 2021. However, most species were close to their long-term averages. Hunters should do plenty of scouting but will reap the benefits if they can find apple trees that produced a good crop this year. Locating good, natural foods can increase a hunter’s odds of success.
Hunters can find a wealth of facts in the Hunting Outlook and Mast Survey, which is a helpful resource to consult before heading into the field. The report, compiled by the Wildlife Resources Section of the WVDNR with the help of volunteers and other agencies, may be downloaded at wvdnr.gov/mast-survey.