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Bob Wise, Governor
Ed Hamrick, Director

News Release
For release: September 22, 2003

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3380
Contact: Paul Johansen, Wildlife Resources Section (304) 558-2771


Preseason Scouting by Hunters Important in 2003


  West Virginia wildlife officials are encouraging hunters to visit their favorite hunting sites prior to season opening dates. Spotty mast (wild foods) production has occurred throughout most of West Virginia , according to Paul Johansen , Assistant Chief in Charge of Game Management for the Division of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Section.


  Severe freezes experienced in most of the state in May, 2002, adversely affected red oak production in 2003 and constant rain this past spring had a negative affect on the flowering of species like white and chestnut oak. However, it appears some locales escaped the adverse environmental conditions.


  "Our field cooperators in most of the state are reporting that hickory, beech, and walnut produced much better this year," Johansen said. "In addition, many of the soft mast species produced better in 2003 than last fall."


  The DNR's Wildlife Resources Section compiles an annual "Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook" report each fall. This publication documents the status of the most common mast foods used by wildlife on a regional and county basis. Johansen encourages hunters to review a copy of this report at the DNR Web site . However, this outlook is not a substitute for hunters scouting their particular hot spots.


  "Getting out in the woods a few days or a week prior to hunting can make the difference between success and failure," stated Johansen.






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