NH Fish & Game says nuts plentiful for squirrels

In some Mid-Atlantic states, a sharp and unexplained drop in the production of acorns and other wild nuts has led to reports of aggressive behavior by hungry squirrels, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Fish & Game officials keep an eye on acorn production because it is part of what they call “mast,” a term for nuts, berries and other wild foods eaten by deer, bears and other game creatures. When mast production is poor, these animals must travel further out of wooded areas to eat, increasing the chance that they will have run-ins with people.

The 2008 Deer Hunt Outlook by Kent Gustafson, deer project leader for New Hampshire Fish & Game, gives New Hampshire’s acorns the thumbs-up: “This fall also appears to be a good year for fall mast production with acorns, beechnuts and other fall foods more plentiful than in recent years.”

This is markedly different for parts of the mid-Atlantic region, notably around Washington, D.C., where fewer acorns have been produced than at any time in recent memory. Biologists are puzzled by that phenomenon, according to news reports.