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Late Season Whitetail Hunting - Look For Red Oaks

9/23/2013
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Red Oak Food Source For WhitetailsImmense trunks covered in tough armor like bark stretching upwards into powerful limbs, oak trees are a symbol of strength and dignity within the whitetail woods.  While it is no secret acorns are a favorite delicacy among  whitetail pallets, we also understand not all acorns are favored equally.   Long standing woodsmen tradition tells us deer prefer white acorns much more than red acorns.  This is true due to the lower tannin levels in the white oaks and less tannins equals a sweeter food.  However, since white acorns are sweeter than their red cousins, this also means they are much more likely to be gobbled up faster early in the fall by deer, squirrels and chipmunks while  there may be red oaks littered around untouched.  So where does this make the red oak a possible strategic advantage? According to a column by Wildlife Biologist Dr Dave Samuel on sportsman guide.com, red oaks have a higher fat content than whites and due to the tannins, take longer to rot.  Deer might leave them alone in the early season due to bitterness yet that means, there is still a high fat, preserved food source laying around  as the rut winds down and the bitter chills of winter stir the air. Not only are they higher in fat, after several months on the ground subject to  the elements, the tannin levels in red oaks  may leech out increasing the sweetness they did not have  upon dropping in early fall.  Could this be an overlooked late season game plan by all of us?  Especially for those who do not have access to agricultural lands and hunt big woodland deer,ridges, bottoms and bottle necks could be the achilles tendon for scoring a bruiser buck, or even a fat ol doe in the oncoming face of winter. 

Re-evaluating our outlook on red oaks could be key to late season success.  Although the late season won’t be here for several months, keep the idea in your back pocket. Mentally map out a game plan for later as time becomes short, temperatures turn frigid because the last thing you want to do is eat your tag.

Jason Reid

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