Sunday, October 12, 2008

Acorns vs. Persimmons

On a deer hunting message board, I read a post the other day from a hunter who was upset that the deer in his area were all staying on a neighboring piece of property because it has white oaks and his property doesn't. His plan was to hunt some persimmons on his property. My experience this weekend suggests that he might be in for a long wait.

On Saturday morning, I returned to the spot I tried to hunt last Sunday but couldn't due to the wind direction. The location featured a large white oak and two persimmon trees. See last week's article for a description and photos.

The only way I can describe the volume of acorns falling was to say that it sounded like little acorn avalanches every couple minutes. One falling acorn would start the process by knocking a couple more nuts loose, which multiplied the effect by knocking even more loose. You could literally hear the avalanche picking up steam, until by the time it hit the ground it was literally hundereds of acorns strong. The does started showing up at first light and several groups fed heavily throughout the morning.

This group of three does (one is partially hidden at the bottom of the frame) was oblivious to the sound of my camera shutter until I took the closeup of the lead doe at the top of the page. She was about 10 yards away at the time. That was the last I saw of that girl. I guess you could say she was a little camera shy...

Anyway, no bucks showed up, so eventually I climbed down and walked over to the persimmon trees to look around. I was surprised to see that the ground was littered with ripe persimmons, but the deer weren't paying them the least bit of attention, despite the fact that they were only twenty five yards away. Several does had even walked right past them on their way over to the white oak.

Obviously this is not a scientific study, but it sure seems to be pretty compelling evidence that deer prefer white oak acorns over persimmons. I'm going to predict that soon after the white oaks stop dropping nuts (even if there are still nuts on the ground) the deer will pick up interest in the persimmons. For whatever reason, deer don't seem to care as much for acorns that have been on the ground for a while.

In the next article, I'll continue the navigation series I began a couple days ago.


Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. I think what you may find is that, much like oaks, some persimmon trees are more preferred than others. You'll hear a lot of people swear that deer will walk right past white acorns to get to persimmons and, like you, just the opposite from others. I think it's all situational and there are no hard and fast rules - aside from those you guys advocate: find the trees the deer are currently feeding on and hunt there.

Thanks for your ongoing updates. I'm getting a lot out of them.

Pursuit Hunter said...

The more time I spend trying to figure out deer, the more I realize I don't understand. That's what makes it such a great pursuit I guess.

I spoke to a hunter friend a couple hours ago who told me he found a cluster of persimmons that the deer are feeding on heavily. They are about a hundred yards from some white oaks. You might be right that some persimmons are more appealing than others. Since there is only one species of persimmon, it might have something to do with the degree of ripeness. On the other hand, it might just be a case of deer being deer, which is to say, unpredictable.

Thanks for the feedback. We appreciate your input.

Anonymous said...

Over the years I have learned the different propertys that I hunt.I have one persimmon tree that just about every year is a dominant tree.But unfortunatly it drops all its fruit early and is not dominant by opening day.Another persimmon spot that will drop all its fruit within aweek.The deer in the area know this and take advantage of the fresh fruit.Because of my scouting records just like the deer I also am awear of this.Thank you so much from pursuit hunters.

Unknown said...


Brain B. Chivers said...

This is really good to me that you climbed down and walked over to the persimmon trees to look around eventually. This is not a scientific study, but it sure seems to be pretty compelling evidence that deer prefer white oak acorns over persimmons. And we are waiting for your navigation series about your experience.