Acorns: Cold snap could cause problems for hunters (USA)

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Deer hunters around Pocahontas say many of the trees are withering and their vegetation is dead. Thanks to a cold snap that hit Northeast Arkansas last week much of spring’s green has now turned to brown.

For Greg Mathews, an avid hunter, he knows the threat this could have on wildlife. "I own some property north of town that I manage strictly for the wildlife, and not having an acorn crop, it's going to be hard for the deer and turkey to make it through the winter. I supplement feed, but that's not going to be enough for this year," said Mathews.

Acorns produced by many of these withering trees provide vital nutrients for animals like deer. "Acorns are the staple for wildlife. That's what they count on every year is the nut crop. You have lean years, but I don't think there's ever been a year where you have zero," said Mathews.

He says the true effects of this cold snap on plant vegetation probably won't be seen until later in the year, when deer hunting season begins. "In order for the does to produce good fawns for the spring, they are going to need some fat preserves. That's what the acorns do for the deer," said Mathews.

Mathews says the forestry service is also surprised by the damage to trees. However, there's always a first time for everything, and hunters are just hoping for the best. "You can pretty well speculate that the deer will be in stress by the time the winter is over without any nut crop at all," said Mathews. The problems with vegetation will not affect the current turkey season, but hunters could see the affects by deer hunting season which begins in October.

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