The Acorn Alternative Pays Off

So many recent rut reports point out that when the acorn drop hits, most deer will abandon visits to farm fields and food plots to snack on the hard mast. In fact, a big acorn drop can so dramatically affect deer movement that many hunters curse a bumper crop.

But here's the thing. Deer can be streaky eaters; flocking to one hot food source for a time and gorging themselves. But after awhile—7 to 10 days, in my experience--they start looking around for a break from the single-item menu. And with the abundance of early-fall foods, they rarely have to look hard for another option. Hunters who recognize those feeding alternatives can often capitalize on a buck that's tired of munching acorns.

That's exactly what Alan Mote did on the Minnesota archery opener last week. Trail cams, combined with some midday scouting, proved that while daytime buck visits to a secluded food plot had definitely dropped off from summer highs, there was enough activity to merit a sit. The buck pictured above—a huge-bodied 10-point—showed up a full hour before sunset. Alan made good on the 22-yard shot, and the early-season trophy piled up within 80 yards.

Naturally, acorns are a tremendous draw and can alter buck patterns enough to throw a huge curve in our hunting plans. But as this hunt proved, at least some deer (thankfully) enjoy variety in their diet!