Ohio Acorn Report

ACORN PRODUCTION: HIT OR MISS THIS YEAR

Acorns are a critical winter food source for more than 90 forest wildlife species

 


Ohio’s fall crop of acorns is variable this year, but will provide a vital food source
for more than 90 forest wildlife species. Overall, white oak acorn production is similar
to last year but varies by region, while red oak acorn production declined by 57 percent
over 2007 figures, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division
of Wildlife.
 
“Good white oak acorn production was observed on some wildlife areas in northern and
southern Ohio, but white oak acorns were much less abundant across central Ohio.”
said Mike Reynolds, forest wildlife biologist with the division.  “Red oak acorn
production declined statewide this year.”
 
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 42 percent of white oak trees and 30
percent of red oak trees bore fruit this year.  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 concentrated near areas with heavy crops of white and chestnut
oak acorns this fall.  In areas with poor acorn production, wildlife are more
likely to be feeding around agricultural areas and forest edges.

One thought on “Ohio Acorn Report

  1. suppressed@unknown.org

    I live in South Central Ohio, and I’ve never seen so many acorns. The white oaks and chestnut oaks are full. I’ve also seen a lot of red and black, but nothing like the whites.Posted by: DBLLUNGEM

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