It’s a good year for beechnuts and acorns. Beechnuts – the fruit of the American beech tree – are a small three-sided edible nut. Since they are high in protein and fat, they’re favored by Adirondack wildlife along with acorns, or oak nuts, the nut of the oak tree. Both are in the beech family (fagaceae) and play an important role in Adirondack forests. These natural nut crops, known as mast, are very plentiful this year.
Early this summer, while harvesting trees in Warren County, I could tell it was going to be a good year for beechnuts and acorns, as the canopies were full. As the beechnuts matured I often found myself enjoying their bounty – they make a nice snack in the middle of the woods. These crops are not always there for the deer, squirrels, bear and turkey, so I am sure they appreciate the extra snack as well.
With so much mast in the forest, the 2013 hunting season could be good for hunters that seek out areas with beech and oak. Hunters who locate areas where these trees are abundant, along with thick cover and water nearby, will have an advantage. The hunting season in New York’s Northern Zone (which includes the Adirondacks) extends well into December. As the snow starts to pile up, wildlife will seek out these food sources in an effort to put on the weight needed to endure the harsh winter months of the North Country.
Some of us have already had a chance to hunt on snow. Hamilton, Franklin, and Essex counties all had a thin cover of snow in higher elevations to kick off the rifle season and the extended forecast is calling for more.
I’ve noticed it’s been a busy hunting season in the most popular state parking lots, but New York’s Southern Zone opens soon. As the weekend warriors of the south return home there is sure to be fewer hunters in the North Country.
I’ll let you know how I do. Be safe and good luck.