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DNR releases 2018 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook

The Free Press WV

Hunters getting ready for the fall hunting seasons can now consult the 2018 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook publication, available on the Hunting section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website at www.wvdnr.gov.

Since 1971, the DNR 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 significant impacts on wildlife populations and harvests,” said Chris Ryan, supervisor of the Game Management Services for the DNR Wildlife Resources Section. “Our biologists have used the mast survey data to demonstrate a strong correlation between mast conditions and deer, bear and turkey harvests. In addition to the impacts on harvests, the amount of food available each year can affect the reproductive success of numerous species, which affects population in following years.”

Production of white oak acorns, walnuts and hickory nuts is significantly higher than the long-term average and will have effects on the 2018–2019 hunting seasons. Black/red oak, scarlet oak and black cherry are down significantly from last year and well below their long-term average. 

“It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas they hunt,” Ryan said. “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.”

For First Time in 7 Years, Good News on Florida Oranges

The Free Press WV

Florida’s orange crop is expected to increase for the first time in seven years, per the AP. The US Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that 79 million boxes of oranges are expected during the coming season, a 76% increase from the 45 million produced last season. That crop was ravaged by Hurricane Irma, and the industry is still suffering from citrus greening, a disease that kills trees. Each box of oranges weighs 90 pounds.

“I was expecting it to be much lower than that. Very good,“ Mongi Zekri of the University of Florida tells the Naples Daily News. Still, the forecast is only about a third the size of the typical Florida orange crop of the early 2000s. Almost all Florida oranges are sold to juice manufacturers. The grapefruit crop is expected to grow 73% to 6.7 million boxes, and the combined tangerine and tangelo crop is expected to jump 60% to 1.2 million boxes.

Rare White Tiger Kills Zookeeper

The Free Press WV

A rare attack from a rare tiger killed a zookeeper in Japan on Monday. Officials say 40-year-old Akira Furosho was found bleeding from the neck in a cage in the Hirakawa Zoological Park in the southern city of Kagoshima, the BBC reports. They believe he was attacked by Riku, one of the zoo’s four white tigers. The 375-pound animal, a 5-year-old male, was sedated with a tranquilizer gun. Police are investigating procedures at the zoo, where the manual states that keepers are not allowed to enter display cages until tigers have been moved to their sleeping chambers, reports the Japan Times.

Warm weather delays fall foliage in West Virginia

The Free Press WV

Warm weather has delayed the changing colors of the trees in West Virginia, with the best locations to see fall foliage in the higher elevations in the eastern part of the state.

The state Tourism Office and Division of Forestry said Wednesday that color ranges from 50 to 70 percent peak in the higher elevations of Grant, Tucker, Pendleton, Randolph and Pocahontas counties.

The agencies said in a news release that some yellow is beginning to show along West Virginia Route 2 in the Northern Panhandle, while the north-central hillsides are showing some red and yellow.

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