Doe Management

Discuss Quality Deer Management issues here!
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Doe Management

Postby DoeEyed » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:05 pm

For those of you that try to manage your hunting property. What do you take into consideration when deciding your doe harvest for the year?
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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RE: Doe Management

Postby msbadger » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:34 am

Good ?
 I take these into concideration

1...antlerless tags given out to our unit
2...#of hunters taking doe near by
3....doe with fawn sightings

Here at home maybe one doe taken
Down at camp as many as I have tags for then I can get signed over...NY allows 2 to be signed over

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RE: Doe Management

Postby cdn1 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:45 am

I am new to this QDM thing but I think deer density (deer/acre) and then buck to doe ratios should be evaluated. I have been using trail cams all year to try to establish a deer inventroy for the 100acres I hunt. I haven't set any harvest goals yet but as I glean more info from this years trail cam pics and hunting obsevations. I think I will have a good idea of how many does to try to take. Then I will have to contend with tag avalibilty etc...

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RE: Doe Management

Postby ranwin33 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:39 am

I try to look at deer populations after the previous season's hunting is done.  I also gauge it on what shows up on trail cameras during the spring and summer, as well as the size is of what I believe to be a doe group that makes our property home.
Truthfully it's all just guess work and trial and error on my part.  If I feel like if I'm seeing lots of does, then I can shoot lots of does, if I'm seeing few does then I have to alter my choices. 
On our property and the surrounding areas we see lots of does, so my goal is take twice as many does as bucks we shoot with a minumum of three does if we don't shoot any bucks.  Given we're in an APR zone and we're pretty selective on bucks, that means somewhere around 4-6 does if all goes well.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

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RE: Doe Management

Postby JPH » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:41 am

From a QDM standpoint, I think this topic is far more important than antler scores or food plot creation! It cannot be brought up too many times.

While I am far from an expert on this, my reading and observation has lead me to believe that this question is very dependent on your local situation. And when I say local, I mean it can be a different situation for landowners in the same county! I hunt several small properties spread across south-central Iowa and one in north Missouri. I approach doe management differently in each situation. For what it is worth, I'll explain what goes through my head when i make these decisions.

For one thing, my method is not very scientific, I admit. I do not use camera surveys and I do not have the buck:doe ratio at my fingertips. In fact, I really do not worry about buck:doe ratio. Since the largest parcel I hunt is 60 acres, I am simply concerned with how many does are using the property on a regular basis. I assume bucks will come and go.

I estimate my doe numbers by simple observation. How many tracks, droppings are in a given area? On average, how many deer do I see from the stand? Are there browse lines or excessive crop damage? What does the landowner have to say?

If at any point in that evaluation, I begin to see signs of overpopulation, I will become very aggressive in my doe harvest. I'll shoot does whenever the opportunity presents and I will target the largest doe in a group. I have two places I hunt where I consider overpopulation to be a threat. We have access to ample doe tags here, and I have several outlets for excess meat, so it's all good.

When overpopulation is not an issue, I begin to ask how I can make the hunting better through doe management. If I see 3-4 does on every outing on a small parcel, I'll skim a few does. I do not over-think this. I keep an antlerless tag in reserve and if a doe gives me a good vital shot, I'll take it. I do not go out of my way, and I do not worry a lot about which doe.

On a small sanctuary property, with moderate deer numbers, I get very conservative. The bow season is spent in observation mode. I will only take a doe during this period if I begin to see an unusual swell in numbers. When I am going entire evenings without seeing deer or only seeing a handful, I just watch and wait for a buck to move in and take advantage of the cover and relaxed does. Once gun season opens, I go after young does and only in numbers that I am comfortable with.


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RE: Doe Management

Postby MoDeer » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:40 am

 Well put JPH 

If I cant make a good shot please let me have a clean miss

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RE: Doe Management

Postby gunther89 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:27 am

I normally look into how many does I am seeing during the summer and how many does are showing up on our cameras.  We have 5 cameras spread out on our property and property we can hunt.  Being in Wisconsin the doe herd by us is suffering alot and I will only take 1 doe off the 400 acres that we hunt.  We have neighbors who don't understand that you need to let some go for next year so I have taken it upon myself to only shoot 1 doe until the doe population goes up. 

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RE: Doe Management

Postby Goose » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:37 am

The others have stated it well and I agree with them.

You are in WI and know of the issues we have with the deer population. Warranted or unwarranted, we have them.

Ill give you three examples where I hunt:
One is a 50 that we put most of our work and time into. On this land we have 4 cameras running 8 months out of the year, so we get a very good idea of whats in the area. On this property we get more pictures and visual sightings on stand of bucks vs does. So this land, to me, would be off limits for shooting does. However with the time and money we stick into this property we usually justify taking a doe for the freezer. A situation like this makes for aggressive behavior from the bucks and by that I mean a lot of scrapes, rubs, posturing, and broken tines.

We actually leased out a 20 acre piece to do some doe hunting. This area is overpopulated with deer and taking a couple of does would do no harm. I know it sounds counterintuitive from a money standpoint, to lease a property to shoot does, but between three of us and the enjoyment we get out of taking and eating venison, along with the buck to doe ratio on our other property, its worth it to us. This property is in a good area with nice bucks so the opportunity at a nice buck is also there, but this is not our main goal here. On this property you see some aggressive behavior like a couple of rubs and a main scrape on a field edge but thats about it.

The other property I hunt is over-populated with does as well and is mostly agricultural, so I feel that the land can support these deer. Taking a doe or more from here will do the herd some good, but its also not hurting the land/browse.
Its kind of up to what you want to do. The responsible and right thing to do IMO would be to reduce the doe population a little bit just to balance it better. However, the landowner is of the type that wants all the girls to draw in the boys so I don't have much say in it. He normally lets me take a doe but this year due to the situation with the WIDNR and the hunters, I don't see that happening. On this land you don't see much for aggressive behavior either. During the rut a scrape will show up here and there but nothing extreme.

I will also throw in another situation about a guy I work with. (a good buddy, but we have some interesting arguments)
He was brought up and still believes that if you shoot a doe, you are not a "man". Needless to say they have a lot of does on their property. 10-15 years ago they had good hunting, they would see 20 deer a night and most of the time a buck was following them. Fast-forward to the present and their property is nothing but a couple of elm trees and canary grass. This property used to be some of the thickest land around, but now its the thinnest with absolutely no browse or under-story except for canary grass which the deer will not touch.
Of course it is the WIDNR's fault that they no longer see the deer that they used to and of course I am no longer a "man" because I kill does.
This property has absolutely no aggressive sign. No rubs and no scrapes. There still are does around but they just bed there and go to the nearby fields to feed.

Its actually rather interesting being able to see these different property's and the differences.
The best part about all of this...they are all with-in 50 miles of each-other, 3 of them within 15 miles of each-other.

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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RE: Doe Management

Postby buckhunter21 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:45 am

I take into consideration the amount of deer that I'm seeing the previous year with the amount of deer I'm seeing the current year.  When I say this, I mean by glassing fields, sitting in stands, and also trail cam pics.  With this, I think about the hunting pressure as well.  For example, we have two 80s and they are totally different even though they are only a couple miles apart.  The one 80 has very high hunting pressure on three sides, so we have made a conscious decision to only take bucks 3.5 and older...No does.  This is for this year and probably next, and then after that, we will guage it again to see where we're at.  On the other 80, we receive hardly any pressure from the surrounding properties, and tend to have quite a few animals running around.  I wouldn't say it's overpopulated, but I think the buck to doe ratio isn't quite where we'd want it.  We have been taking one or two does off there per year, but may up it to three this year and see where we're at next year. 
I agree with what has been said previous....This is a top priority if you want a healthy herd.  You'll see a lot of hunters and landowners think and say the more deer the better, but depending on the habitat, amount of food, cover, etc, this may not be the right answer. You have to take it in on a case-by-case basis!

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RE: Doe Management

Postby DoeEyed » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:41 am

I really don't have any method right now besides observation when I'm in my stand. It is interesting how the deer numbers can fluctuate from one property to another in close proximity. I know on one side of me they are buck hunters and on the other 2 sides anything goes. My one neighbor has managed to shoot at least 3 deer over the past two seasons that he has not recovered. I believe all of them were does. Knowing that, I am somewhat reluctant to shoot any but I have not been out yet this year so don't have a good handle on the numbers yet. In the past I had never given much thought to the number of deer taken in terms of QDM but after reading so much on the forums and dealing with the situation in Wisconsin I've decided it would be prudent to actively start managing. I know I can't just base everything on deer sightings. Habitat and fawn production and rut activity and predation are all things that should be taken into account. Thanks for the imput all. I have to get my butt off this computer and get to work!
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


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