It’s Transition Time, So Focus on Acorns

My trail cameras nabbed two photos this week that tell an important story. The first was of a buck walking through a food plot to reach a large white oak that’s been dropping acorns. That fine 8-pointer shown here was disinterested in the planted vittles (a mix of wheat, brassicas, and turnips) and preferred, instead, the all-natural appeal of the hard mast. This dining-preference pattern is one that I see exhibited year after year, and one that many hunters have a hard time believing. “Why,” they seem to wonder, “would a deer prefer cracking nuts instead of eating that easy green stuff?”

No one can speak for deer, but I do know that whitetails are crazy about acorns whenever they find them, and especially now--when white oaks tend to drop the first-and-sweetest acorns of the season. Deer, I believe, are all about variety when it comes to food. Feed them a steady diet of anything, and they’ll switch as soon as the first new source pops up.

The second photo grabbed by my cameras showed a pair of bucks; one still in velvet, while his buddy is in hard antler. The pic is indicative of another important transition for whitetails, as these buddy-bucks—deer that have been fast friends all summer—may suddenly go their separate ways. Once again, that’s a shift that can require a little extra recon, especially for a hunter wanting to stay on a particular deer.

With archery seasons set to open in a few days in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Missouri, it’s important for hunters to recognize that some of the hotspots that had them excited all summer can seemingly go dead in a hurry. But for those who know where stands of white oaks occur, and for hunters willing to scout and/or shift their camera locations to those groves, keeping up during transition time is entirely possible.