I have been out scouting a few times in Centre and Blair counties and I’ll share my observations for readers of this blog.
The bad news – I see very few (if any) apples anywhere. If you normally bow-hunt for deer near apple trees, you better check to see if there is any fruit to hunt over.
I have seen absolutely no beechnuts in my area.
Good news – Some hawthorn (thornapple) trees are loaded with fruit — this is an important food for ruffed grouse and turkeys.
Much of the state received one or more inches of rain (Around my place we got 1.8 inches on Sept. 18) during the past several days. Resident woodcock will find the moist soil a relief, and if we continue to get more precipitation, the migrating woodcock will be able to find something to eat as they pass through Pennsylvania.
There seems to be a large crop of chestnut oak (also called rock oak) acorns. These are large, oblong-shaped acorns –- usually yellow-colored when they first drop. Some white, red and black oak acorns are on the forest floor in the areas where I have hiked, but I would not describe it as a bumper crop. There are definitely enough acorns in the woods right now that the grey and fox squirrels have abandoned feeding on the sunflower seeds in my bird feeders and are staying in the forest. This has saved me at least one 50-pound bag of sunflower seeds already!
The deer might not be as fulfilled by this fall’s acorn crop — at least not so far. Instead of waiting for the first frost –- they are already mowing down the turnips that I have planted in my food plot. The clover and winter wheat are being hit hard, too.
Although I have not yet viewed this personally, my neighbor –- an ardent hunter, reported that the scrub oaks on the mountain and ridge tops are just loaded with the tiny scrub oak acorns.
“The acorns are just hanging in bunches. It is the largest crop of scrub oak acorns that I have seen in years,” he related.
Do your own scouting and remember that deer, bears, turkeys, squirrels and other species are drawn to food sources. How is the mast crop where you live and/or hunt?
Good luck and safe hunting to all of the bowhunters out there.