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1 September 2004 Relationship of mast production to big-game harvests in West Virginia
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Abstract

Food availability influences population demographics and harvest of wildlife species throughout the Appalachians. Various combinations of hard- and soft-mast indices were compared to white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and black bear (Ursus americanus) statewide harvests in West Virginia, USA, 1980–2002. Hard-mast conditions had a negative relationship with total white-tailed deer (r = −0.5774, P = 0.004), archery white-tailed deer (r = −0.5979, P = 0.003), antlerless whitetailed deer (r = −0.5065, P = 0.014), wild turkey (r = −0.6193, P = 0.002), and black bear archery (r = −0.6065, P = 0.002) harvests. Hard-mast conditions had a positive relationship with black bear gun harvests (r = 0.6975, P ≤ 0.001). Negative nonsignificant (P > 0.05) relationships were measured between mast conditions and buck white-tailed deer and muzzleloader white-tailed deer harvests. Hard mast black cherry (Prunus serotina) had the strongest negative relationship with wild turkey (r = −0.6497, P ≤ 0.001) harvest, whereas oak (Quercus spp.) had the greatest negative relationship with total white-tailed deer (r = −0.6238, P = 0.002), archery white-tailed deer (r = −0.6133, P = 0.002), and antlerless whitetailed deer (r = −0.5648, P = 0.005) harvests. Total hard mast had the greatest positive relationship with black bear gun (r = 0.6975, P ≤ 0.001) and greatest negative relationship with black bear archery (r = −0.6065, P = 0.002) harvests. Soft-mast conditions did not relate to harvest of any big-game species (P > 0.05). Our results supply wildlife biologists with data that may be used in setting seasons or predicting harvests for the public.

Christopher W. Ryan, James C. Pack, William K. Igo, Joseph C. Rieffenberger, and A. B. Billings "Relationship of mast production to big-game harvests in West Virginia," Wildlife Society Bulletin 32(3), 786-794, (1 September 2004). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2004)032<0786:ROMPTB>2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 September 2004
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