Poor acorn production should disperse deer
Nuts! Yes, deer hunting can be all about nuts – as in white oak and red oak acorns – especially for the more forested areas of Ohio.
Me, I live surrounded by the industrial agriculture-dominated region of northwest Ohio. Some early archery hunters, especially those with favorable woodlots, may be doing well hereabouts. But many of us will have little luck till the “corn forests” are stripped from the land. Deer just love holing up amid the endless miles of stalks, loaded with their (to them) delectable cobs of kernels.
As for the rest of the state, the 12th annual mast (acorn abundance) survey by the Ohio Division of Wildlife shows poor acorn production, just like last year. This will disperse deer more widely in search of food, which is said to be a boon for archery hunters. By gun season, though deer and other wildlife may well have polished off what acorns are around in your personal hunting bailiwick and they be ranging widely for food. That may translates into tough sledding, gun-seasonwise, just like last year, if the deer have ranged off the hunting lands where you have permission. My crew was a half mile away from the action last year — wrong side of the road. Sound familiar? We need acorns for our grounds to work well.
The recent mast survey conducted on 38 wildlife areas throughout Ohio shows a below average year for both white and red oak acorn production. The crop is important food for more than 90 forest wildlife species. In the survey, state wildlife staff scanned the canopies of selected oak trees on wildlife areas to determine the percentage of trees that produced acorns and the relative size of the acorn crop.
Results showed that an average of 36 percent of white oaks and 43 percent of red oaks bore fruit this year. Over the past five years, acorn production has oscillated from above to below average, and this year is a below average.
For 2016 average coverage of acorns in tree crowns for white oaks was 7 percent. Average crown coverage of acorns for red oaks was 12 percent. All well below average.