Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

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Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby justincasei812 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:55 am

Not sure what to do. I have recently taken up bow hunting again and I am not sure about shooting does with young ones in tow. I have passed up several doe because of this and I am not sure if the young ones will survive the winter if I did. I hunt in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the winters can be harsh. I would rather see the doe and her young walk and hopefully make it through the winter if the wolves or weather don't get them rather than shooting the doe and making it impossible for the younger one(s) to survive.

What would you do?

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby Mastertangler » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:27 am

Like "justincase"....I've had the same question....with a twist. I full well know that the does push their fawns away at some point and the fawns learn to survive without mom. And I believe there's been plenty of research to show that a doe will push her small buck out of the area. So at some point it's probably a good idea to take a doe even if the fawns are with her. But is there a point of doing it too early?

For example.....I've got a doe that has three nubby buck fawns. Part of me says don't shoot that doe as she's raising three bucks, and the other part of me says I need to shoot that doe so those three bucks don't get pushed onto the nearby public land and killed before they have a chance to grow.

Is there really a good answer on when or when not to shoot a doe with fawns?

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby jonny5buck » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:53 am

I would shoot the fawns instead if your that worried...Dnr does a pretty good job of picking hunting dates,to avoid this type of thinking..i say go with your always amazed at the second guessing that guys any of my posts and you will find me to be the biggest proponent of shooting fawns..i also shoot mature bucks ,and a meat hunter 100% first ,but that doesnt meen i dont let deer walk..actually i let way more deer walk than i shoot, i say do what you think is best ..''for you'' and hunt for you alone...

I dont meen to sound un-compassionate,but the cruelest mothers of all is mother nature....if your wrestling that hard with ''what'' to shoot and when...just take what ''you'' decide is acceptable or take a camera instead of a weapon-the choice is yours 100%-

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby justincasei812 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:36 am

I don't have a problem shooting the doe/mom as long as the fawns have a chance at survival without her. I don't want to shoot one deer and kill two or three while doing it. That is just a waste. Would rather have the doe walk to ensure the hopeful survival of the younger ones. Otherwise it is meat in the freezer.

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby Bukmastr » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:29 pm

The fawns will be fine. During the fall the fawns are grown enough to survive on there own. I personally would not shoot the fawn though. I don't like the idea of killing it before it even has a chance to live. I don't keep 6 inch walleyes either. To each there own I guess. There is some research thats findings suggest that does that get killed who have buck fawns, the buck fawns will not relocate. The study seems to find evidence that does are the ones that push buck fawns into relocating.
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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby Deebz » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:51 pm

That only makes good sense for a doe to push her buck fawns out of an area... they'll chase off their young when it comes time to breed, but even more so if the fawn is a buck. If too many buck fawns stay in the area they were born in (the home range of their mother) they run the risk of in-breeding in the future... that's just bad from a genetic standpoint. Not saying that deer understand genetics and the like, but they have definitely evolved instincts and behaviors to support the survival of the species
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby JPH » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:05 pm

If we are asking the question from an ethical standpoint, you have to decide on your own. Same goes for the decision to shoot a fawn. While I only have experience hunting in Northern states, I am not aware of anyplace that allows hunting before the time fawns are capable of survival alone. Nor am I aware of any state that does not allow a fawn to be taken on an antlerless tag. There are no strict biological or moral laws governing those decisions.

If we are asking from a management or conservation standpoint, there is no single right answer.either. It depends greatly on what you have to work with and what you want to accomplish. I hunt one property that has had a real overpopulation issue. On that property, any doe is a good doe, but I try to target the largest in a group, fawns or no fawns. However I have another property that is smaller, has a much thinner population and more hunting pressure. On that property I have found my hunting is better if I give mature does a little room. On that property I watch the doe herd carefully before skimming from the yearling does or even doe fawns using it. I think this helps to tweak the population without disrupting the herd dynamics.

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby gatodoc » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:38 pm

When shooting a doe, is it not a good idea to let the biggest (matriarchs) pass and go for a good sized middle aged one? In wild horse populations mature mares are the wise old ones who know where to find food and water in tough times and are the leaders n the group, not the stallions. Are deer populations not similarly inclined? Newbie, just asking...

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby DEER30 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Assuming your hunting during the legal season you will be fine. The local DNR takes this into account when setting the date of the season opener. So even late dropped fawns are well enough off by the time the season opens to survive on their own if their mother is killed. I am bowhunting by early september in Maryland and mid september in Georgia and usually harvest at least one doe during this time. She almost always has fawns with her and I have never seen any drop in population or seen the fawns starvingin the following weeks.

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Re: Shooting a Doe w/ fawns in the fall

Postby Cut N Run » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:18 am

Since I feed the deer year-round at my house, I learn to tell them apart and see their personalities & quirks develop. A young guy who lives up the road a mile or better from me took his first ever archery deer a few days after opening day. It was a doe that I have known for 5 years. I am pretty happy he scored his first archery deer at 12 years old (with a perfect shot too). He said she never saw him and she was upwind when she came in. He was hunting a grove of oak trees near his house that had just dropped a bunch of acorns from high winds the day before. Anyway, she had two buck fawns this year and both of them have taken up with the rest of the herd that come to eat at my house. I have no doubt they'll survive.

Most of the bucks don't get pushed away from the doe/fawn group until around the time they polish the velvet off their first set of antlers. By that time the bucks have had ~14 months of experience and teaching from the does in the herd.

I have also seen fawns still in spots whose doe was killed by a vehicle on the road, and they survived by hanging out with the rest of the herd. Deer are a herd animal, so the more noses, eyes, and ears thy have together means the safer they'll probably be.

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