John's Journal...

What Hunters Should Know About Nuts to Take Buck Deer

Day 3: Know Which Nut Trees to Hunt and When for Success in Taking a Buck Deer

Editor’s Note: Because of the success of that hunt for deer near nut trees (see Day 1) I’ve been nuts for bucks ever since. If you know how to hunt nut trees, you consistently can pattern and take deer year after year in the same area. A man who has far more knowledge than myself and spends most of his time in the woods hunting nuts is avid deer hunter and guide, Larry Norton of Butler, Alabama.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAccording to Norton, “One of the most-critical keys to hunting nut trees is to know when to leave one type of nut tree and when to start hunting another kind of nut tree. I’ve discovered the white oaks in my area usually begin dropping their nuts around the first of November, which is about 2 weeks after the beginning of Alabama’s bow season, and 4 to 6 weeks after the red oaks and water oaks start to drop their nuts. When the white oaks turn loose of their nuts, I can hunt successfully around a white oak for 5 to 6 days.

“Most of the white oak nuts will fall off a tree within a day or two, remaining on the ground for only 5 to 7 days before the deer eat them up. If a rain occurs during the time when the acorns are on the ground, the white oak acorns will sour and rot. A white oak tree can concentrate deer and cause them to leave the red oak and water oak acorns, which are more abundant than the white oak acorns in Alabama, since the deer have only a short time to feed on these particularly sweet nuts. Deer remind me of children at a picnic. Even though they may have all the food they want to eat, when the popsicle man comes around, they’ll leave that abundance of food to get the sweet treat that only is available for a short time.”

After hunting the white oak trees, Norton then hunts around chestnut oaks. “The chestnut oak acorn is sweet like the white oak but is a larger acorn,” Norton reports. “Deer don’t have to eat as many of them as they do the water oak and red oak acorns to be satisfied. The chestnut oak seems to provide a banquet feast for the deer, whereas the water oak and the red oak are more like hors d’oeuvres.” The food supply of the chestnut oak also only lasts from 5 to 7 days – like the smaller white oak. If you can hunt around chestnut oaks during the time the nuts are on the ground, you’ll drastically increase your odds for taking a whitetail.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewNorton has learned the chestnut oak and the smaller white oak concentrate deer better than either the red oak or the water oak. By keeping a log of the location of the trees and what date each tree drops its nuts, every year Norton accurately can predict which white oak or chestnut oak trees he should hunt around each week of bow season. Although not all trees bear nuts each season, Norton has enough trees in his log to always have a tree around which to hunt.

“An important key to remember and note in your log is that not all white oaks or chestnut trees drops their nuts on the same day or even during the same week or the same month,” Norton mentions. “If you pattern the trees in your hunting area and keep a log on them, you also can pattern deer and predict where and when you can expect to find the bucks.”

To learn more about deer hunting, you can get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, 
How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” and “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” or to prepare venison, get “Deer & Fixings.” Click here on each, or go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Share this page with a friend!

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: How Deer Hunters Can Select and Fertilize Nut Trees and Shrubs to Have More Deer with Larry Norton

Check back each day this week for more about What Hunters Should Know About Nuts to Take Buck Deer"

Day 1: Bowhunters Know Oak Trees Are Hot Spots for Taking Deer
Day 2: Longtime Deer Hunter Larry Norton Says to Follow the Squirrel and Keep a Tree Log to Find Bucks
Day 3: Know Which Nut Trees to Hunt and When for Success in Taking a Buck Deer
Day 4: How Deer Hunters Can Select and Fertilize Nut Trees and Shrubs to Have More Deer with Larry Norton
Day 5: Larry Norton’s Bowhunting Strategies for Hunting Fertilized Nut Trees for Deer

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 788, Day 3