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One of the fun fall activities is apple picking. Over the weekend, we started picking our four trees and quickly had enough for ourselves, friends, and family. However, because this year is a banner year for apple production, all the local wildlife are also enjoying the bounty.
If you’re wondering how much wildlife loves to eat apples, just watch how many apples under your tree disappear overnight. Whether it’s deer, squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, mice, or insects like bees and wasps, everyone loves the sweetness of an apple. I’ve even had turkeys peck at the apples over the years.
Think of it as a tasty dessert for the animals. Unfortunately, some of the animals like to leave their “evidence” at the base of trees or nearby as well. This is the same way I discovered the culprits that were eating all my strawberries inside my fenced yard.
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Another way to learn which specific deer or raccoon is eating your apples is to install a tracking camera on the tree. What my cameras have taught me is that a couple have been feeding on my apples, probably for several years. Usually in late August I’ll get the first one to show up, followed by a few fawns and many years even some smaller males. Since we now have dogs in the kennel, most of the activity is at night, but before the dogs, they would be there in the middle of the day. While this isn’t much help when hunting, I find it nice to sit in the kitchen during the summer and watch the deer have a snack.
Knowing that deer will come to apples like a child to candy, hunting in these areas can be productive for early season hunts. Depending on the location of your garden, whether around a high-traffic area or an abandoned grove in the woods, hunting in transition areas to and from is likely to be the most productive. That’s because apple orchards tend to be compact, don’t leave much for pull lanes, and this time of year the weather isn’t usually your friend. The chance of scaring deer is high, even with all the smell of apples or apple parts in the air. Scaring these animals will likely cause them to turn nocturnal and end your chances of a successful hunt while the apples are ripe.
If you are hunting isolated trees, trail cameras will be the key to learning the days and times that animals like to use them. While that information may not be helpful this season, apple trees will produce annually, so it’s worth the recognition. These gardens can also be daytime resting areas due to shade and prior maintenance.
While some people may think that hunting in or around an apple orchard may be like hunting with bait, hunting in an apple orchard is no different than hunting oak trees, at the edge of a cornfield, or in your favorite patch of grass. rye and clover. Now, if you dump a pile of apples in front of your deer stand and say you’re hunting an orchard, your local conservation police officer may have an expensive education in store for you.
So whether you love picking or eating apples, or just enjoying the wildlife that consumes those apples, take advantage of the next few weeks when everyone and everything is drawn to the sweet apples in our landscape.
World Outdoors columnist Jeremiah Haas can be reached at [email protected]