Subscribe Today

Field Notes

Last Friday, it rained lightly all day.  First time in a long time that we have seen that.  Not a lot of rain and certainly not a drought breaker but maybe just enough rain to green up the grass a little before winter freeze up.

No Tail, our ancient male fox squirrel with the obvious name, spent the day in the back yard diligently burying hickory nuts while keeping one eye on a nagging, nosey fairydiddle.   They say they will fight over territory and that the red squirrel usually wins, but in this case they seemed to have a healthy respect for each other.  Other than a couple of false charges, they kept their distance.

There are several white oaks in the yard here in Arbovale and all the acorns are down now.   The crop was fair but could have been much bigger were it not for the dry summer.  All critters love the white oak which is considered the sweetest of the acorns.  In fact, Native Americans used to crush the acorns to make a type of bread.

The neighborhood deer stopped by two or three times a day to feed and the fawns came by more often than that.  Over a three week period, they hoovered up all they could find.  The squirrels and bluejays will continue to work the yard, finding occasional hidden nuts to sustain them through the winter.

As expected, the black and scarlet oaks in the yard had almost no yield this year, probably wiped out by the frosts in mid-May 2013.

The deer are scarce for now and may have moved further up the mountain where the red oaks’ acorns and beech will fall a little later.  Good hard mast has a lot of nutrition and the nuts from all the oaks and beech will help them put on weight before winter.

Into the woods

This is the middle of the first week of the split turkey season.  It came in on Saturday the 11th and goes out on the 18th.  If the turkeys are keeping up their calendar, then they know that they may be a little safer next week than now.  Beginning on the 27th, turkey season returns through November 15th.  Only one turkey of either sex may be harvested in the fall with either a gun or bow.

Turkeys are likely to be well scattered just like the mast.  So, scout out the white oak and beech first.   Then scout the red oak areas.  The red oak acorns are bigger and not as palatable but they do fill a cold, empty spot in the turkeys’ crop.  Also since the killer frosts haven’t hit yet, some turkeys may be found chasing grasshoppers in the field edges.

Archery season for deer and bear has been open now for a while and squirrel season has been open since September.  Grouse season opens this Saturday, the 18th, and may be good.  Brood counts were good and grapes and berries will keep them active.

For raccoon hunters, that season also begins this weekend, the 18th.

Trapping season for muskrat, mink, fisher, bobcat, beaver, fox and otter opens November 1.

Happy hunting to all.

more recommended stories