Everything you need to know about acorns (2023)

Everything you need to know about acorns (1)

The basics of a successful deer hunt are: know where the deer sleep, know what they eat, play with the wind, be there and shoot them anywhere along that itinerary. Autumn deer hunting, especially in the south, usually takes place on cultivated, highly nutritious land. There is nothing wrong with the strategy. However, when the feeding grounds are as empty as a ghost town, deer are obviously drawn to more attractive food. Where the oaks grow, it's a good bet the local herd of deer are busy devouring one of Mother Nature's tastiest fall dishes: acorns. Deer are attracted to acorns for their nutritional value, abundance, and size. Acorns are rich in nutrients. Percentages vary from species to species, but all acorns contain significant amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, as well as the minerals calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, and the vitamin niacin.

Oak and Acorn Facts

Everything you need to know about acorns (2)There are more than 450 oak trees worldwide (90 in the US) and they fall into two broad categories. The white oak category bears fruit in one season and the red oak and black oak category bears fruit after two seasons. The first group has leaves with rounded lobes and no spikes at the leaf tips. The second group has spines on the tips of their leaves and scales on their acorns.

Acorns are low in protein (6%) but high in carbohydrates (42%) and fat (52%). They are easily digested, their nutrients are easily absorbed, and they are quickly processed and passed through a deer's body. Because deer digest acorns so easily, they eat many of them each day, and the large amount eaten by individual deer provides the protein needed for healthy deer.

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Usually in a given year within an area there is one oak species that is producing well. Water oaks produce annually to some extent, but rarely do all species produce bumper crops in the same year. Acorns are a preferred food source for deer in the eastern states, accounting for up to 25% of a deer's fall/winter diet.

Everything you need to know about acorns (3)It is widely believed that a severe drought is a trigger mechanism for unusually abundant acorn production. Many biologists believe that water stress causes desperate acorn production as a reproductive mechanism. Another theory is that in early spring, when the oak trees are blooming and pollinating, the lack of rain allows pollen to cover more flowers and develop into acorns.

When conditions are normal, acorns can be a scarce commodity the year after a bumper crop. White oaks produce a crop every two years and a bumper crop every three years. Holm oaks, oaks, chestnut oaks and all others produce a crop every two years. The key here is to figure out which oak species will be producing acorns this fall and focus on hunting those trees. You'll have to give up your cozy shooting range and hunt by climbing or hanging from trees, but the rewards will be worth it.

If the severe drought lasts for two years, it is possible for oak trees to produce consecutive bumper crops. If old oak trees that were stressed by drought the previous year have to endure this situation again, the old oak trees can die. To propagate the species under stressful conditions, trees devote all their resources to fruit production. These trees may not recover from two years of drought and full fruit set.

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Not all acorns are the same

Everything you need to know about acorns (4)Just because you find acorns on the ground doesn't necessarily mean you've found a wild herd hotspot. White-tailed deer prefer certain types of acorns over others.

All acorns contain certain amounts of tannic acid (tannins) that affect palatability. Levels are lowest in white oak acorns, making them a top choice for deer. In general, white oak species have lower tannic acid levels than red oak and black oak species.

Priority Preferences Recognized by Acorn

  1. White Oak:The low tannic acid content makes them the sweetest of all acorns. Generally they produce a large master crop every three years and a decent harvest every year.
  2. oak pine:Low to medium tannic acid content. Normally she produces a harvest every two years.
  3. water oak:Low to medium tannic acid content. It usually produces one crop per year.
  4. Roteiche:Average tannic acid content. Deer generally do not fully subsist on red oak acorns due to their bitterness.
  5. Black Oak:She produces a crop every two years. Medium to high tannic acid content. Generally a good spring feed after the winter thaw.
  6. oak ridge:This is a very large acorn with a medium to high tannin content. Their size makes them more attractive for consumption.
  7. live oak:It usually produces one crop per year. Less preferred due to high tannic acid content.

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One of the advantages of hunting acorns is that they fall where the deer live. Adult males can eat wood at any time of the day, especially when the safety cover is closed. Experienced hunters know that deer can find acorns in a white oak tree at the expense of others nearby. As the season progresses, deer will consume the tastier local butt, then switch to less desirable varieties. Some experts speculate that tannic acid levels vary from tree to tree. Another theory is that accumulated deer odor can attract other deer.

How do you find this magic tree? To make big money playing Acorn Drop, do your homework. Explore effectively. Use a mobile hunting app like ScoutLook to record data in the field. A tree identification app like Tree ID USA can identify trees in your hunting area. Learn more about typical peak mast production cycles year by year. If you look at the preseason, use high quality optics (www.nikonoptics.com) to scour the treetops for good fattening producers. Later, use scent control to inspect the ground beneath the trees for acorns, scraps of shells, and caps. Pay attention. Note the date when various trees seem to start shedding acorns.

When deer attack a particular tree, there are various droppings, smell of urine, and signs. Look out for nearby scuffs and scratches. Evaluate potential stand locations, prevailing winds, and entry/exit options.

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Everything you need to know about acorns (6)

Whether you're exploring or hunting, keep an eye out for other wildlife activities to find warm trees. Hear acorns tapping against the leaves and squirrels or flocks of grackles eating. These animals are noisy when they are eating at the perch. Deer are also likely to use the area.

Be consistent. Tick ​​preferred trees, fall dates, and a timeline of seasonal use by deer. Year-on-year data shows trends and increases your chances of success as you prepare for the upcoming hunting season.

sweeten the pan

Years of scouting and hunting on our farm have taught us the preferred and productive pole trees.

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While there is debate over the effectiveness of fertilizing wild-growing stakes, we harvest a few mature trees each February and apply 13-13-13 granular fertilizer in shallow, shovel-sized holes around the drip line of each stake tree at 10-foot intervals. Each hole receives 8 ounces of fertilizer. Dirt collects on it to prevent washing. Seedlings and shrubs are kept neat with good stake growers.

By increasing your knowledge of trees and stakes, an effective hunting strategy is possible that will help you increase your chances of tagging a violent deer. When the acorns fall to the ground, the deer will be there to hunt for the nuts. You should be too.

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