Decades' worth of DNR data show a direct relationship between mast and the way hunters kill bears. When mast is plentiful, the gun kill is higher. When mast is scarce, the bow kill is higher.
One, it's a new season, and DNR officials say it takes hunters two or three years to adjust to major season changes; two, it comes at a time just before the whitetail rut, and hunters might be more interested in bowhunting for pre-rut bucks than they are in using a gun to kill a doe; and three, many Mountain State deer hunters simply refuse to hunt antlerless deer.
You'd think that in a state where 230,000 people identify as hunters, a greater percentage would try to take advantage of abundant goose, wood duck and mallard populations. There's never been much of a waterfowl-hunting tradition here, though, and that's probably why participation remains low.
Aside from these not-so-bold predictions, the upcoming hunting season is a complete mystery. So - forward into the unknown! Have fun, everyone.