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2019 mast drop

Discussion in 'Hunting, Trapping, & Fishing Forum' started by whacko, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. whacko

    whacko

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    Couple of woods walks the last few days. Acorns and hickory nuts look very large and plentiful in Merrimack valley.
     

  2. bdb

    bdb NES Member

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    Yeah, I saw a bunch dropped up in southern NH this past weekend. I hope it isn't a bumper crop this year but it looks to be from what I have seen so far.
     
  3. 76Too

    76Too NES Member

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    Can you educate me on what, if anything, this means? More food for deer/moose/squirrels early? What’s the significance?
     
  4. bdb

    bdb NES Member

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    When there is a huge acorn crop the deer tend not to move around as much. They can stay in places they feel safe and have plenty of food. I just find it harder to hunt them when they have tons of acorns to feed on.
     
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  5. whacko

    whacko

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    It means more food for the deer, squirrels, and turkey mainly. It's a sign that the deer herd will be healthy. 2017 was a big acorn mast drop....the deer we harvested that year were quite fat and healthy. Hunters like to discuss/track the environmental impacts on the herd year to year. Snow pack is also a hot topic. Heavy mast drop can be negated by heavy snow in early winter because the deer and turkeys have a hard time getting to them under the snow. Also heavy crust on top of a snow pack is bad for deer as well......deer sink in.....coyotes dont so it's an advantage for predation under those conditions. Best case scenario for deer and turkey is bumper mast drop and light snow throughout the winter.

    But....also what bdb said.....it can be tougher to pinpoint the deer during the season during a bumper crop because there is food literally everywhere. Oaks tend to produce acorns in varying amounts and sizes year to year. Some years you see tons of acorns but they are tiny and "dried up". Some years they are large and green but small amounts. Some years they are large and green and plentiful.....this year looks like large and plentiful from what I'm seeing in the woods right now. The deer should be fat and happy come November this season.

    2017 my wife bagged a buck early morning....she interrupted his breakfast......when we dressed it out it had acorns falling out of his mouth and his gut was bloated with green mash from acorns.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  6. ssbob

    ssbob

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    a good mast crop can be to your advantage find the acorns -find the deer let mother nature show you the way
     
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  7. HorizontalHunter

    HorizontalHunter NES Member

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    When there is a good mast crop like it appears there is going to be year you will find that not all acorns are created equally. I’m not talking about whites vs reds. There is much much more to it.

    This is a great primer on acorns:
    ACORNS - Everything you need to know for deer hunting or bowhunting

    While knowing preference is a good start there still is much more to it.

    We all know that deer prefer white acorns to reds due to the tannins. (Well mostly anyway)

    When it comes to white acorns all trees aren’t created equal. I have seen them walk past a grove of white oaks that were dropping to go to a different group of white oaks to feed. Different trees produce different tasting acorns and the deer prefer some over others. Whether it’s the soil content or genetics I have no idea why but it is true.

    Pursuit Hunting did a great 3 part series on it years ago:

    Pursuit Hunting: The Dominant Tree - Part 1 Definition
    Pursuit Hunting: The Dominant Tree - Part 2 Identification
    Pursuit Hunting: The Dominant Tree - Part 3 Size Does Matter

    I have also found that just like us different deer like different things. One year I shot a buck and his rumen was filled with red acorns. It was a huge mast year and there were still a lot of whites on the ground but he liked the reds.

    Beyond the taste the type of surrounding cover also matters. Deer will eat reds in great security cover over whites in the open hardwoods during the day. Especially the older wiser deer.

    Bob
     
  8. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    This totally.

    I'll add one caveat.....finding fresh acorns are one thing. Acorns falling now won't be fresh......and I've seen years where acorns falling now was a bad year. Whites generally fall in September, Reds a bit later.

    But mainly, I don't look for acorns, I look for fresh droppings in the acorns. Droppings that are be light colored brown, wet, not black, and huge will interest me.
    Think borderline Moose shit size. Then I know a large deer is feeding in the area. That's where I will put a camera to monitor. Just because there is a large shit, and acorns means nothing. It must be visited during the day or edge of light, at least a few times, if its solid noctournal, its useless. If its edge of light, Ill set the stand as close to bedding as I possibly can. In the early season (Mid Sept-first Oct) the buck will be feeding close, after that, they tend to start to disperse.
     
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  9. smokey-seven

    smokey-seven NES Member

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    That is exactly why they are older and wiser and not dumb and dead.
     
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  10. HorizontalHunter

    HorizontalHunter NES Member

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    There is much more to a deers diet than acorns.

    What I listed below is from a chart on page 15 of the article I linked below.

    Preferred and Staple Plant Species
    Under this category would fall apples, agricultural crops, lawn grass, and suburban landscaping. In forests, there are hundreds of preferred and staple food plants. Some of these, selected by the author, are listed in table 1 and discussed on the following pages.
    Table 1. Some preferred and staple food plants for white-tailed deer in Northeastern forests.

    Trees:

    Red Maple
    Sugar Maple
    Flowering Dogwood
    Atlantic White-cedar
    White Ash
    Eastern Red-cedar
    Cucumber Tree
    Sweet Bay
    Black Gum
    Aspen
    Black Cherry
    Oak
    Arborvitae
    American Basswood
    Eastern Hemlock

    Shrubs/Vines:

    Shadbush
    Sweet Pepperbush
    Beaked Hazelnut
    Autumn Olive
    Winged Euonymus Witch Hazel
    Mountain Winterberry
    Winterberry
    Privet
    Spicebush
    Japanese Honeysuckle
    Morrow’s Honeysuckle Apple
    Virginia Creeper Choke Cherry
    Scrub Oak
    Rhododendron
    Rosa multiflora
    Viburnum
    Common Buckthorn (this causes the deer urine to turn blue like WW fluid)
    Pinxter-flower
    Sumac
    Multiflora Rose Blackberry/Raspberry
    Rusty Willow
    Red Elderberry
    Common Greenbrier
    Bladdernut
    Alternate-leaved Dogwood
    Dogwoods
    Canada Yew
    Japanese Yew
    Poison Ivy
    Maple-leaf Viburnum
    Hobble-bush
    Grape

    Herbaceous Plants:

    Wild Sarsaparilla
    Bunchberry
    Turtle-head
    Bluebead Lily
    Pink Lady’s Slipper
    Yellow Lady’s Slipper
    Trout Lily
    White Wood-aster
    Large-leaved Wood-aster
    Spotted Touch-me-not
    New England Blazing-star
    Canada Lily
    Purple Loosestrife
    Canada Mayflower
    False Solomon’s Seal
    Indian Cucumber-root
    Lion’s-foot
    Rattlesnake-root
    American Ginseng
    Pokeweed
    Solomon's Seal
    Bracken Fern
    Bluestem
    Goldenrod
    Twistedstalk
    Calico Aster
    White Trillium
    Perfoliate
    Bellwort

    This is also a good read.

    https://www.grownativemass.org/sites/default/files/downloads/WhitetailedDeerNEForestsWEB.pdf
     
  11. whacko

    whacko

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    In early december in the forest I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they are primarily eating acorns. I've field dressed enough deer in December to know their gut is full of acorn mast at that time.

    At first glance I'd say over half that list is spring and summer fodder (when it's still green).

    Spring summer fall.....yeah they are eating plant matter......Nov to Feb it's hard mast.....that's why the mast drop is important.....it gets them through the winter. Also "mast" does not only include acorns.....beech nuts, hickory, chestnut and such is all considered hard mast.
     
  12. HorizontalHunter

    HorizontalHunter NES Member

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    Yes hard mast is important. Yes it makes up much of their diet. My point was that there is much more to a deers diet than just hard mast. It is especially important to archers.

    I hunt archery so I start September 15th (CT).

    I always open the rumen of the deer I shoot and hard mast isn’t always the main food component in the rumen of those deer. I would say that I find hard mast in 50% - 60% of the deer I shoot.

    Bob
     
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  13. Chris M.

    Chris M. NES Member

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    Seeing more acorns now. Nice green ones.
     
  14. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    I hunt CT. Where you can bait. In early seasons. Apples are preferred. Its generally what I shoot does over for population control.

    Later season, corn. They will ignore corn for good red and white acorn mast and baiting is more of a waste of time. During that time of year bucks, are not generally concentrated on food, they are roaming and banging does, so again baiting more waste of time, better to concentrate on travel areas.

    January, deer like the corn but also love frozen apples for some reason.My guess after months of eating hard mast, frozen apples are a sweet treat. But they love them. See it out in MA too..deer dont touch apples all fall then they freeze and are digging them up in the snow.
     
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