Killing Mature Bucks in Acorn Country | Scouting the Details

Hunting Acorn Hot Spots | More than Just Finding Acorns on the Ground

You here it time and time again – you need to be hunting over acorns during October or anytime oaks are dropping. Often, hunting the right acorn producing oaks is easier said than done. Acorns are an easy subject to write about when it comes to targeting whitetails, but articles often lack the finite details that truly help hunters pinpoint the exact areas they should be scouting and hunting. The subject matter is far more complex than find a good oak with a bumper acorn crop and hunt it. First off, every area is different. Some woods are loaded with oaks like the Ozark regions, while others may only have an oak density of less than one per acre like the big woods of the north. Obviously, both scenarios require different tactics and hunting methods. This article will work through some of these situations and will provide the key details a hunter needs to get within bow range of an acorn hungry buck.

One thing that’s often not discussed when it comes to the nature of hunting over acorns is that it can be downright frustrating. If you’re in an area with a lot of oaks that are full of acorns, it can be extremely tough to figure out where exactly those deer will be browsing on any given day. The randomness to which deer browse in high oak density regions means you’ll have to rely on a bit of luck, but don’t think for a second there’s not specific areas within these oak forests that deer will prefer over others. It may take some time, scouting missions, and observation sits to figure out, but when you do, it’ll be the difference between just seeing bucks and actually getting a shot at one.

Hotspots in Big Oak Timber Regions

First, we’ll take a look at honing in on specific areas when you’re hunting a forest full of oaks. By nature, deer movement in these areas tends to be more random, especially if it’s a good acorn crop year. However, like most hunting strategies, you want to stack as many things in your favor as possible. When you have multiple factors in your favor, the odds go up for having a shot opportunity on a big buck in oak country. Aside from the acorns themselves, terrain features are usually the most influential in terms of deer movement.


Finding Oak Islands to Hunt

Hunting big bucks in a sea of acorn producing oak can be tough, but it gets much easier if you’re hunting an area with isolated oak pockets or islands. In any case, the first thing to do is to find the oak trees and determine if they are in fact dropping acorns this year. Some years there will be bumper crops of acorns, while others there might not be an acorn on the entire tree. This is why it’s imperative to scout the oaks before each season. With a set of binoculars in hand you will have no problem determining if an oak tree is worth hunting over this fall. The best thing to do is to mark any oak you come across on your HuntStand app and make sure to scout it every season and mark if it’s hot or cold to know if it’s worth spending time on.


Depending on the surrounding habitat, suspected oaks can sometimes be easily seen with the use of the aerial imagery on the HuntStand App. For instance, if there’s a pocket of hardwoods in the middle of a cattail marsh it will be easy to pick out and a scouting mission will be warranted. Often, these pockets are relatively small in size and bucks like to bed just off the edges of these pockets. Be stealthy going in and use the wind to your advantage, both in terms of direction and noise reduction. Other areas where you can see oak pockets fairly easily include clear cuts where they leave certain pockets standing for seed trees. Of course, there can be pockets of oaks anywhere, but they often require more boots on the ground type of scouting as you can’t necessarily tell what type of tree exists without walking up to it. Finding an island of oaks in any habitat can lead to a daylight encounter with a mature buck so long as the acorns are there.


As we mentioned earlier, oak islands are often much easier to hunt than a vast sea of oaks because you know exactly where the deer want to be. Couple this knowledge with known bedding areas and you’ll be in for a heck of a season before the rut even starts. Bottom line, as long as the oaks continue to drop, they will be prime areas to hunt. When you are out scouting, keep in mind that some oak species are preferred over others. White oak and pin oak typically outrank the red and black oak varieties, but it all depends on what’s available in your area.