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Local Mast and Berry Crops

Old 08-01-2021, 05:18 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Lately I've been paying a little more attention to what types of wild forage there are in the woods this year. I'm in west central PA and have a little over 90 acres of mostly wooded property. So far I have seen wild grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dogwood berries and chestnut oak acorns (which is species of white oak). What I have not seen much of has been red oak acorns, beach nuts or hickory nuts and I have plenty of those types of trees as well. I have one surviving medium size American chestnut that I know of and it does have a few nuts again this year. I have not checked for wild cherries yet. The lack of red oak acorns is a little surprising as we have had bumper crops the past few years. I suppose that's actually a good thing if you're a deer hunter as the deer should be more predictable as far as where they are feeding.

The chestnut oaks are encouraging as I do have good numbers of those trees and most of them have acorns this year which has been really rare most years. Those trees are concentrated in one approximately ten acre area and I have several tree stands there already. They are also close to a small fruit tree orchard and there are lots of apples, pears and peaches this year.

I have also been seeing a four buck bachelor group on the camera in the orchard which is obviously encouraging and I'm already seeing some scrape activity near two of my stands. One of those is a community scrape that seems to get worked over throughout the year. It's under a small beech tree along the edge of an old overgrown field and it's been there so long that there's actually a bowl shaped depression several feet in diameter. In the nine years that I've owned the property there have been three respectable bucks taken from that one stand alone. I don't have a camera there yet this year mostly because I wasn't expecting to see any scrape activity this early.



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Old 08-20-2021, 01:25 PM
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Update: Last evening just before dark I was standing in my driveway and could hear a squirrel cutting acorns. I was a little surprised to find that they were from a red oak. There is a big wild cherry within ten feet of that oak and it is loaded with cherries. I was also walking along one of my property lines on the edge of a neighbor's field a few days ago and saw several black walnut trees with nuts. There is at least one big beech along my lane that is loaded with nuts as well.

Another neighbor just mowed his fields a few days ago and I saw a hen turkey in one of those fields with over a dozen poults. I have also seen that same brood on a couple of my trail cameras.

I have a camera along the powerline coming to my house and got this video of a decent ten point five nights ago.


I currently have a logging crew on the property cutting the larger hemlocks. They are infested with HWD (Hemlock Woolly Adelgid) and most of them will die anyway so I decided to get something out of them now before they are worthless. Although I hate to see those trees go because they do provide excellent cover for the wildlife this will open up the understory and allow the hardwoods to thrive.

I was talking to one of the loggers yesterday and he told me while he was running the skidder through the woods he saw a group of seven nice bucks feeding on the leaves of a small freshly fallen maple that was knocked over by one of the falling hemlocks.
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Old 08-20-2021, 02:11 PM
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its sad to see so many tree species getting hammered by bugs anymore
I lost a lot of tree's over the last decade due to bugs getting in them and killing them or just slowing killing them, making them ticking time bombs now

and isn;t always easy to knock them down without doing damage to healthy tree's

some of my fruit tree's this yr did better than they have the past 4-5 yrs, we had a much slower warm up and not late frost this yr for a change, which I am sure helped a lot

as for acorns not such a great yr again/
been a few yrs now since I seen a good acorn mast crop here

cherry tree's and chestnuts have pretty good take though, but again NO late frost I think is key on them

odd part on my apples tree;s , or seems new to me,
is, they seemed to stop at one size and just stopped growing, from there on, , and there falling off at a high rate already, deer are not even eating them like they used too, as there mostly all green on the ground, falling off so early, must be a little sour even for them! as I notice they prefer the one's that are more rotten, been laying about a while!

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Old 09-09-2021, 12:51 PM
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I had tons of red oak acorns the past two years but not many this year. I was just out doing a little scouting and found lots of chestnut oak acorns. Again, that is a species of white oak. So far I have only seen one red oak with a few acorns but that was on top of the ridge near the house. There might be more at lower elevations but I'm trying not to stray too far for fear of stinking up the place too close to the archery opener. I took this photo of some acorns that I just picked up. The pile in the center are chestnut oak acorns while the two rounder acorns on the top right are red oak. The smaller acorns on the lower left are also from a chestnut oak but they were also from a smaller tree.


I also got some vids of a couple decent bucks working a scrape right beside one of my stands over the past few days.
Attached Thumbnails Local Mast and Berry Crops-img_5658.jpg  
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:58 PM
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Hmmm, not sure why the same video is now coming up twice in my previous post. I added two different links. Apparently you can only add one at a time?

Anyway, here's the other one that I thought I added.
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Old 09-10-2021, 09:01 AM
  #6  
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I was checking out one of my other tree stands about an hour ago. This one is only about 100 yards from the edge of my back yard. I put this ladder stand up a little over one year ago but have never hunted out of it. The reason I put it there is that the deer like to cross the powerline leading to the house and when they do they pass right near this stand. The video I posted on 8/20/21 of the ten point crossing the powerline was taken right in front of this stand and I just added a photo of the nine point that crossed in front of the same camera on the morning of 8/28/21. Today I found a fresh scape and a small rub within fifteen yards of the stand on the left side and a chestnut oak about the same distance away on the right side is dropping acorns right now. Should be an excellent early season stand.
Attached Thumbnails Local Mast and Berry Crops-img_5659.jpg   Local Mast and Berry Crops-img_5660.jpg   Local Mast and Berry Crops-pict0023.jpg  
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Old 09-10-2021, 04:19 PM
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You have some nice property there buddy and some dandy buck on it too. My friend and I have noticed the acorns just popping out now on the red oak. I have a natural funnel area that is a honey hole for me. I've taken several buck there. Not only is it a natural funnel but it is also in a stand of big white oaks. Unfortunately they haven't been producing over the past couple years. I'm hoping they do this year. The last year they produced I saw seven buck within shooting distance in one sitting until I finally found one I put a Rage in his cage.
The bear in the area are currently pulling down the sassafras trees to get to the berries on the upper branches.
Good luck to you.
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Old 09-19-2021, 04:11 PM
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Man acorns are all over right now. Should be a good mast crop for putting on the winter fat.
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Old 09-24-2021, 05:19 AM
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Good luck to you as well. The chestnut oaks are covering the ground right now and I'm seeing more and bigger rubs. Based on what I'm seeing on the cameras some of the younger bucks are still in their bachelor groups but the mature bucks seem to be on their own already. Probably just my imagination but everything seems to be a few weeks ahead of schedule. Kinda strange. Sign of an early winter perhaps? Or is it because there are more mature bucks than I've ever seen in my lifetime and they just behave differently? That also means more competition for breeding rights which could also be causing some of the earlier activity. Only one more week till archery season and I can't wait...don't ignore October folks!
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Old 09-24-2021, 06:13 AM
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While walking along the lane to my house this morning I noticed several fresh rubs. This one is about 20 feet from the edge and the tree is about 4" in diameter.
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