SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023


The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is composed of governmental fish and wildlife agencies in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Southeastern Association is one of four such regional fish and wildlife associations. While the regional associations are autonomous, they work very closely with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, of which all southeastern states are also members. Only state wildlife agencies in the 15 southeastern states and territories are members of the SEAFWA.

Its objectives are to protect the right of jurisdiction of the member states over their wildlife resources on public and private lands; to carefully scrutinize state and federal wildlife legislation and regulations and to offer support or opposition to legislative proposals or federal regulations in accordance with the best interests of the member states; to consult with and make recommendations to the federal wildlife and public land agencies in order that federal management programs and programs involving federal aid to member states shall be so conducted as to be in the best interests of the member states; and to serve as a clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas concerning wildlife and fisheries management, research techniques, wildlife law enforcement, hunting and outdoor safety, and information and educations programs. The Association participates with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, other regional associations, other governmental agencies, and citizens’ organizations in pursuing mutual goals benefiting fish and wildlife resources; maintains a variety of committees consisting of fish and wildlife professionals who explore and analyze a wide range of issues and factors affecting fish and wildlife resources and makes recommendations as appropriate; sponsors cooperative fish and wildlife programs among member states and other entities to address issues of mutual interest and to benefit to fish and wildlife resources; provides effective, efficient and allied representation for member states regarding natural resource matters, particularly for issues which are beyond the capability of one agency to address or which may unduly tax the ability of individual states.

The Association’s annual meeting and conference is held every year, usually in October. The annual meeting and conference are on a rotational basis with each state having its turn as host. Officers are elected at a spring meeting, usually held in May, with the host state normally being that of the incoming President. These meetings promote exchanges of ideas and philosophy between administrators and professional fish and wildlife biologists, managers, enforcement, information and education, and technical workers in related fields.

Organized March 14, 1938, at a meeting of state officials in Jacksonville, Florida, the Association has played a major role in the evolution of state, regional, and national conservation affairs. Its officers and members have included many of the nation’s conservation leaders. The Clarence W. Watson Award is the most prestigious award given in the Southeast and is presented annually to the career individual who, in the opinion of the Award Committee, has made the greatest contribution to wildlife or fish conservation during the previous year or years.

Editors and officers

Managing Editor

Robert A. Gitzen, Ph.D.

College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Auburn University, Alabama

Associate Editor-Fisheries

Steven M. Sammons, Ph.D.

School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences Auburn University, Alabama

Southern Division, American Fisheries Society

Associate Editor-Wildlife

Daniel U. Greene, Ph.D. Environmental Research South Weyerhaeuser Company Columbus, Mississippi

SEAFWA Officers—2022

President—Eric Sutton, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Vice President—Robert H. Boyles, Director, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Secretary-Treasurer—Ryan Brown, Executive Director, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

Past President—Paul Johansen, Chief, Wildlife Resources Section, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

At-large Board Member—Charles (“Chuck”) Sykes, Director, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

At-large Board Member—Ted Will, Director, Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Executive Director—Ross Melinchuk


The Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is published annually. All manuscripts are subject to peer review by members of the Southeastern Section of the Wildlife Society, members of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, and other relevant experts. Listed below are the referees who have provided reviews for this volume. The Association and the editorial office are indebted to these individuals for their valuable services.

Dave Armstrong, Tim Bonvechio, Darrell Bowman, Shannon Brewer, Preston Crisman, Vic DiCenzo, Lawrence Dorsey, Jason Dotson, Todd Driscoll, Corey Dunn, Mark Fincel, Cynthia Fox, Janet Genz, Hunter Hatcher, Mike Holley, Travis Ingram, Mike Isel, John Jackson, Kevin Kelsey, Steve Lochmann, Melissa Longman, Sean Lynott, Matt Marshall, Max Melsrom, Chris Middaugh, Ben Neely, John Odenkirk, Patrick O’Rouke, Don Orth, Clint Peacock, Kevin Pope, Jeff Powell, Jeff Quinn, Jake Rash, Pete Sakaris, Warren Schlecte, Jeff Slipke, Nate Smith, Andy Strickland, Melissa Wuellner

Robert Baldwin, Michael Bodenchuk, Wesley Boone, Ashleigh Cable, Chris Chizinski, Mike Conner, Becca Cozad, Josh Gaskamp, Jacquelyn Grace, Katie Haase, Daniel Hanks, Heath Hagy, Joseph Johnson, Angie Larsen-Gray, Susan Loeb, Craig Marshall, Mike Mengak, Lisa Muller, Jennifer Mullinax, Santiago Perea, Piper Roby, Scott Rush, Roger Shields, Mark Smith

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10 Table of Contents

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023


Graham F. Montague, Richard A. Snow, Douglas L. Zentner, Austin D. Griffin

1    Comparing Precision of Otolith and Pectoral Spine Age Assessments for Black and Yellow Bullheads

Joseph V. Siegel, Stuart Welsh, Nate Taylor, Quinton Phelps

10   Size Structure, Age, Growth, and Mortality of Flathead Catfish in the Robert C. Byrd Pool of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers

Steven ...

Estimating Elk Abundance Using the Lincoln-Petersen Method

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

Achieving a target population size is often the first goal of species restorations. From 2012 to 2014, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources released 75 elk (Cervus canadensis) originating from Kentucky into Buchanan County in southwestern Virginia. These individuals were ear tagged with unique numbers upon release with an additional 33 elk tagged within the Virginia Elk Management Zone (VEMZ) from 2019 through early 2022. To assess post-release population size, we conducted visual driving surveys throughout Buchanan County from January through mid-April...

Distribution of Summer Habitat for the Indiana Bat on the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

Hierarchical conservation and management of Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) habitat may benefit from use of species distribution models. White-nose syndrome has caused additional declines for this endangered bat, requiring use of historical presence locations for habitat-related analy- ses. We created random forest presence/pseudo-absence models to assess the distribution and availability of Indiana bat habitat across the 670,000-ha Monongahela National Forest (MNF), West Virginia, USA. We collated historical roost and capture locations, both individually and in...

Distribution of Northern Long-eared Bat Summer Habitat on the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

Species distribution models enable resource managers to avoid and mitigate impacts to, or enhance habitat of, target species at the landscape level. Persistent declines of northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) due to white-nose syndrome have made acquisition of contemporary data difficult. Therefore, use of legacy data may be necessary for creation of species distribution models. We used historical roost and capture records, both individually and in combination, to assess the distribution and availability of northern long-eared bat habitat across the 670,000-ha...

Sources of Yearly Variation in Gray Bat Activity in the Clinch River Watershed, Virginia

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

The gray bat (Myotis grisescens) is a cave-obligate species that has been listed as federally endangered since 1976, following population declines from human disturbance at hibernation and maternity caves. However, with cave protection, most gray bat populations have increased. As part of a project examining bat use of transportation structures as day-roosts, we continuously acoustically monitored 12 riparian sites within the Clinch River Watershed of southwest Virginia from March through November, 2018–2020. We used 15 different landscape and weather-related variables in...

Maximum Likelihood Estimator and Nightly Acoustic Count Values as Weight of Evidence of Bat Maternity Activity

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

Since the spread of white-nose syndrome in North America, several bat species have shown precipitous declines in abundance and distribution. With lower netting detection probabilities for the currently threatened but proposed endangered northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) and endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis), determination of presence or absence for regulatory clearance often has shifted to the use of acoustic sur- veys. However, acoustic surveys are unable to differentiate between non-reproductive individuals versus a maternity colony. We used...

Differences in Hunter Harvest Metrics by Survey Modes

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

We analyzed a three-year consolidated sample of Louisiana hunters’ responses to the Louisiana Game Harvest Surveys (LAGHS) distributed via email and mail in May following the 2016–2017, 2017–2018, and 2018–2019 hunting seasons. To determine whether the distribution modes pro- duced different results, both modes asked identical questions about hunting effort, harvest, and age. We used generalized linear mixed models to test hypotheses about hunters’ days hunted, harvest, representation of age classes, and effect of age-weighting (i.e., weighting responses based on the differ- ence in...

Aquatic Invertebrate Biomass in Coastal South Carolina Impoundments Managed for Waterfowl

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

Production of submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) is promoted for waterfowl forage through hydrological management in brackish tidal impoundments along the south Atlantic coast, USA. This management also promotes production of aquatic invertebrates as food resources for many bird species. We conducted a field experiment to compare effects of traditional complete drawdown to fissure substrates versus a novel partial drawdown (i.e., mudflat to 10 cm depth) on aquatic invertebrate biomass in impounded and non-impounded tidal wetlands in the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Ed- isto Rivers (ACE) Basin,...

Long-Term Response of a Largemouth Bass Population to a Protected Slot Limit Regulation in a West Virginia Small Impoundment

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) population in South Mill Creek Lake, a centrarchid-dominated, eutrophic small impoundment in West Virginia, was managed under a 305-mm minimum-length limit until 2007. Under this regulation the population was typified by consistently low proportional size distribution (PSD) values, low quality-length CPUE, excessive juvenile recruitment, and poor length structure. Therefore, in 2007 a protected slot limit (PSL) regulation (305–406 mm) was implemented to shift the size structure of the fishery. Spring (May) boat...

Effects of Introduced Alabama Bass on an Existing Largemouth Bass Fishery in Moss Lake, North Carolina

SEAFWA Journal Volume 10, March 2023

Negative impacts from non-native congener introductions have emerged as an immediate threat to black bass conservation and management. Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) historically comprised the sole black bass fishery in Moss Lake, North Carolina. Alabama bass (Micropterus henshalli) were illegally introduced into Moss Lake and were first detected during a 2008 electrofishing survey conducted by North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission biologists. Since this detection, Alabama bass rapidly increased in abundance throughout the reservoir...