White-tailed does live in colonies that are often complex. These colonies consist of females from maternally related groups, and they can include up to seven social classes.
From a scientific perspective, the first three categories include fawns, yearlings and/or first-time mothers. Then come the dispersers, which are the second-time mothers. These deer usually make up new homes a quarter-mile or more from their birthing locations.
The final categories include three levels of matriarchs and, finally, senior “citizens.” Matriarchs are prime-age does ranging from 4 to 10 years old. A doe doesn’t classify for senior status until she reaches age 12. In today’s environment of heavy doe harvesting nationwide, I would say (tongue planted firmly in cheek) that a hunter would have a better chance at getting hit by lightning or possibly wining the Lotto than he would of killing a senior-class doe. Exception here would be highly managed properties in Texas. I’ve seen several examples of senior-class does (post mortem) on several large, highly managed properties in South Texas. Some far remote, north locales also harbor doe populations that include these older age classes.
The doe in this Wildgame Innovations video clip (above) is of a mature doe that we have roaming our hunting property here in Wisconsin. Although we have trail-cam video and photos of this “monster mama” for the past two seasons, we have never seen her during daylight.
This just goes to show how adept mature white-tailed does are at avoiding hunters. They are among the smartest deer in the woods.
Have a good week, everyone. Here’s another video related to this topic that you might enjoy:
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