why is there a large gouge on one of my oak trees?

yesterday i saw a gouge on an old oak tree, the oak is about 2 feet in diameter. the gouge is 3 feet long, 5 inches wide and 2 inches deep. the gouge runs up the tree and starts about 3 feet from ground level and up to 6 feet from the ground. there is also small pin holes throughout and around the gouge. what can this be? daniel a. gettemy

Without seeing a picture, it can be difficult to determine what cause a wound on your tree.  The pin holes could be related to the wound or a result of a pest attacking a wounded tree.  Consider visiting "The Forestry Forum" (do a google search) and posting a picture.  All the old-timers on there with nothing to do will have it settled in no time.