Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 8

Once on the ground, white oak acorns continue their sprint. Thrusting from the apex of every one that’s been on the ground for more than a few hours will be a fleshy white radical.
out hairs. Red oak acorns are more contemplative. They drop at the same time as white oak seeds, but the ample globes lie there, waiting. After a wet, cold autumn lying among the leaves, and after a winter under a ceiling of snow, red oak acorns sprout their first rootlet the following spring, two full years after their airy birth as an oak bloom. Even as the oak seeds rain down, a subtle harmonic force exerts itself on the future, worked out through millions of years of quiet experiment and adaptation. It is a fluid force that we don’t think of in the context of forest and fauna. It is the pervasive force of selection, driven by acorn taste. To sense what’s at work, peel the tough skin off a red oak acorn. Bite the oily yellow meat inside and chew. Within the time it takes to draw a breath around that odd bolus, its bitterness will crawl all over your tongue. Do the same with an acorn from a white oak. Mildly bitter blandness will dominate the experience. At that point, suppress your own conditioned perception of “sweet,” hyper-juiced as it is by processed syrups and industrially concentrated cane. If you can achieve that suppression, you may grasp the taste that, in nature, qualifies as “sweet.” That bitter taste, more powerful in the red, is the sensory signature of tannin. Oaks possess more tannins
8

than most other plants, and acorns hold more than other oak tissues. We humans are no strangers to tannins; they impart the desired tang to coffee and that edgy zest to walnuts. But don’t think “coffee” here because its tannin is tame compared to an oak’s. Even an expensive wine’s pleasantly bitter essence comes from tannin, in the skins of its own grapes and from consort with an oak barrel’s innards. Bouquet is one thing but, in nature, tannins have purpose. Their bitterness tells of their complex ability to ward off bacteria, inhibit fungal rot and discourage ingestion by herbivorous beings. Plants developed tannins as protection. Too much tannin can even be toxic to a plant’s attacker, blocking protein digestion and the absorption of essential iron. “Thinking,” then, as a plant; if you are a plant that produces a large and calorie-packed seed, that seed will need protection. Given enough time, competition and the imperative of reproductive success, you might come up with bitter taste as its safeguard. Not that taste can’t be overcome; it’s just expensive in money, work or time. Native Americans in what is now California and Arizona didn’t need the former but did lots of work when they chose to make use of an abundant but bitter windfall. They gathered acorns, stored them in baskets and soaked them in streams for months. The flowing water leached out the tannins, rendering the seeds bland but edible. Sadly, today we know little about acorn culture among native people who lived in the vast oak
GAME NEWS



Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010

Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010
Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Contents
First Archery Buck
Red Oak, White Oak
Just Like the Good Old Days
Step Back in Time
Antler Restrictions in Pennsylvania
What Goes Up . . .
First Time’s a Charm
100 Deer
The Brute
Flight 93
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
Fun Game
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - First Archery Buck
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Red Oak, White Oak
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Just Like the Good Old Days
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Step Back in Time
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Antler Restrictions in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - What Goes Up . . .
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - First Time’s a Charm
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 100 Deer
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - The Brute
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Flight 93
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - I1
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - I2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover4
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