Whitetail Deer: Acorns Responsible for Fewer Deer Sightings

Deer hunters across much of the country aren’t all that happy right now. The object of their dismay is not bad weather, or disease, or anti-hunters. It’s the acorn—lots and lots of acorns. There are fewer trail camera pics, hunters are no longer seeing deer on their favorite hunting plots, and deer sightings are in short supply (unless you are hunting the only oaks within miles).

Savvy deer hunters know that deer behavior in the fall is dominated by the need to feed. Big bucks are bulking up for the breeding season ahead, and does and fawns are laying on the fat. It happens every year and, since deer are opportunistic feeders, they’re all about gobbling down the best foods in the area as soon as they become available. And acorns are about the best food a deer can come across.

It just so happens that across most of deer country, acorns are plentiful and the deer are all over them. They seek them wherever they fall and will abandon most other food sources to load up these carbohydrates. The bad part is that abundant mast tends to spread out the deer herd, and that’s the impact hunters are feeling in many areas.

Acorns always seem to be the wild card. You may be crunching loudly through the woods one season, but not see another acorn for three years. Then they explode for a couple of years in a row, and lay off for another year or two. There’s just no figuring, no rhyme or reason, as to when the acorns will be in great supply.

But take heart. Soon the deer, squirrels, and bears will clean up all those tasty nuts. It might not happen until later in the season, but the deer you’ve been looking for in all the old places will be back. In the meantime, it would be a great idea to put your bow stand in the middle of the acorn bumper crop zone.