Acorn Production Up Across Ohio
Acorns are a critical winter food source for more than 90 forest wildlife species
Columbus, Ohio - Ohio's fall crop of acorns is very good this year and will again provide a vital food source for more than 90 forest wildlife species. Statewide, white oak acorn production is up 10 percent, while red oak acorn production is up 2 percent over 2006 figures, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
"A significant acorn crop leads to healthy wildlife populations, as acorns are high in fat and are critical food resources for many animals during the winter," said Suzie Prange, forest wildlife biologist with the division.
The Division of Wildlife is currently participating in a multi-state, on-going research project to estimate regional acorn production throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Wildlife biologists hope to use the acorn production information gathered in the study to forecast wildlife harvest and reproductive success rates on both a local and regional basis.
Acorn production is cyclical, with some trees producing acorns nearly every year, while others rarely ever produce. This year, Division of Wildlife employees scanned the canopies of selected oak trees on 38 wildlife areas in the state to determine the percentage of trees that produced acorns and the relative size of the acorn crop. Results varied regionally, but an average of 43 percent of white oak trees and 68 percent of red oak trees bore fruit this year. Acorn production was highest in the southern portion of the state, especially among red oak trees. Wildlife prefer white oak acorns, because red oak acorns contain a high amount of tannin and are bitter in taste.
Mast crop abundance can affect hunting plans as well. Hunters can expect to find deer, wild turkeys and squirrels feeding on the abundant acorns of red oaks this fall. An abundant food source can also make hunting more difficult because deer and turkeys will be spread out and less concentrated around farm fields.
Suzie Prange, ODNR Division of Wildlife (740) 589-9924 or Mike Reynolds, ODNR Division of Wildlife (740) 589-9921
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
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