West Virginia's June 29 derecho windstorm inconvenienced hundreds of thousands of people, but its effects on fishing and hunting weren't nearly as dramatic.
"A few animals might have been killed when limbs or trees fell on them, but by and large deer and bears and other creatures should have made it through the storm just fine," said Paul Johansen, assistant wildlife chief for the state Division of Natural Resources.
"The heat wouldn't have bothered the animals either. It might have made them uncomfortable, but through evolution animals have learned to adapt to all sorts of meteorological conditions."
Johansen said people should be more worried about fish in the state's small streams, most of which are enduring critically low water levels and record-breaking heat.
"Again, though, the fish have survived similar conditions in the past, and I expect they'll survive the conditions they're experiencing now," he added
The derecho's biggest impacts were to the DNR's infrastructure. Many of the agency's wildlife management areas suffered significant tree damage.
"We had a lot of trees down, blocking roads and blocking trails," Johansen said. "It affected access to some of our facilities and to our WMAs. In some cases the tree damage was pretty extensive. The cleanup is going to take quite a while."
If there's a silver lining to the damage, it will occur when new trees begin to appear in clearings where large trees fell.
"Wildlife really like 'early successional' habitat, the tender young growth that occurs after trees fall or are cut," Johansen explained. "It's natural for forests to regenerate when trees are broken or tipped over. Fallen trees are a disturbance on the landscape, but animals adjust very quickly to the disturbance, and when the new growth comes in it actually attracts wildlife."
The most significant impacts weren't to fish or wildlife themselves, but to infrastructure the DNR has put in place to manage them. State fish hatcheries, for example, all suffered power outages and operated on generator power until electrical service was restored.