The impacts of the 2012 drought on forests may continue to go on for many years, but there are some bright spots, some signs of recovery.
Hunters who shunned favored deer gathering locations should reconsider those same old locations this fall.
The reason? Nuts – loads of nuts. All kinds of nuts, including shagbark hickories, walnuts, acorns, and even some bitternut hickory fruits are falling.
Squirrels, turkeys, deer, and ruffed grouse were forced to gather food in different locations last year during a poor mast crop. This year they may be back to where we generally expected to find a turkey scratching or a ruffed grouse picking. Yes, grouse can down an entire acorn, minus the cap, but often take advantage of heavier objects cracking acorns open and exposing the two halves of the embryo, which look like a shelled peanut.
Deer are already finding the early bur oak and other white oak acorns that have fallen. When one finds the feast, others will follow. Even fawns are fond of acorns in the white oak group – burs, whites, swamp whites.
This fall’s bonanza can be counted on through December, and even into next spring’s turkey season.