Shoot does or Leave em alone?

What's the hunt looking like this year in your area? Share!
User avatar
Goose
 
Posts: 2804
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:36 pm

Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby Goose » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:28 pm

I know some people who will go to all lengths to not shoot does on their property saying that eventually the bucks will come to where all the girls are. I like to harvest does to make a more balanced herd and a more intense rut. What are you theories and why.
Jake

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

schlupis
 
Posts: 796
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:38 am

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby schlupis » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:15 pm

I like to shoot some does here is how I look at it. with a overload of does the bucks dont have to roam as much to find a receptive doe but if there is fewer does he is going to have to get up and move around to find a doe, and maybe he will move around by my stand so I can shoot him.

User avatar
EatDeer
 
Posts: 726
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:02 pm

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby EatDeer » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:21 pm

For every doe I take three more replace her, I would be kidding myself if I thought I alone could put a dent in the doe herd. I can only hope other hunters are doing thier part as well. Doe hoarding hunters aren't good for the herd's health, or the quality of the hunt.  When you have too many doe's versus bucks in your hunting area, the big bucks won't have to look far for a mate to hold up with for several days. This makes mature bucks harder to hunt, and you have to see'em, before you can shoot'em!
"Let a young buck go, so he can grow."

msbadger
 
Posts: 2374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:59 am

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby msbadger » Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 am

Heres my problem with "shoot those doe"....when you have a HIGH concentration of hunters in a relative SMALL area and they are all shooting the doe...you run the risk of taking out entire family groups....when this happens and it has in our area...it can literally take years for doe to filter back into the area from other areas....now I do shoot doe but you can bet I do so based on what my sightings and land tell me.....this year...it will be at camp that my doe are taken.......doe tags in the wrong hands can be just as damaging as the no doe hunting mentalities.......

User avatar
shaman
 
Posts: 2475
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:38 am

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby shaman » Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:27 am

When I first got on my land in 2001, I saw one important fact.  I needed to reduce the amount of hunting that was going on.  I chased everyone out and posted the property, and started seeing results almost immediately. 

It takes a population of undisturbed does to make a herd.  Does make does. Does make bucks.  More does make more bucks, and it keeps going like that until you hit the carrying capacity of the land.  You can kill off all the bucks and the whole thing rights itself if a few seasons.  It's now the start of my 8th season on the place.  I now see herds of 10-15 deer where before I only saw groups of 2-5.  There are more doe.  There are more bucks. The bucks are bigger.

D&DH has recently published articles confirming what I suspected for years:  an unbalanced herd has a tendency to right itself in relatively short time.   The idea of a sustained 8:1 doe/buck ratio just does not happen.  All it takes is a modicum of restraint to keep things in relative balance.  Yes, I harvest doe.  We've probably harvested something like 1:1,  and now that my sons are coming on line as independent hunters, I will encourage them to take doe. However, my goal from the start was to grow the herd overall, and wait until we had a larger population before we started getting picky. 

D&DH did an article in the past year talking about the role of mature doe in maintaining a healthy herd, and I concur.  It is not just the doe that should be shot, it is the younger does that need to be targeted. The matriarchs, usually the lead deer in a herd of doe, is its most important member.  I don't mean to anthropomorphize deer, but you  have to figure that the sum of the herd's knowledge about its world resides in the heads of its matriarchs. 

The other benefits of shooting an immature doe: more room in the freezer and tastier meat.   As much as I like taking a mature buck, you know things are out of hand when the kids begin to recognize which deer you put in the chilli, and the family celebrates when the last package of old Mossy Horn gets used up.  Young does are less . . . distinctive.

Your friends are right, but you are right too. Doe makes the best bait for buck.  It is your resident doe groups that form the main impetus for bucks coming on your property in the fall. On the other hand, without a decent balance, you never see much in the way of competitive rut behavior. I suspect this is important in more ways than we suspect. In the first few seasons, it was common for us to see a single 1.5 yr old buck running does back and forth across the ravines.  If the doe stopped long enough, he would come up and prod them with his antlers.  It kept the doe in constant motion for days, and it certainly kept them upset and fretful.  It was always fun to watch, especially with the kids, but you could tell the doe were getting the raw end of the deal.

Now with more bucks competing, the doe get somewhat of a rest.  The bucks vent their energies in male on male aggression, while the doe are contentedly feeding.  This change in rut behavior seems to me to be a key tipping point in the health of the herd.  Last season, for the first time, I got to see something I had never seen before:  multiple bucks gathered in a small patch of woods, performing all the things we think of as aggressive rut behavior with nary a doe in sight.

I am sure the doe were there, probably watching from a nearby cedar thicket.  However, the point was that the doe were no longer the sole focus of the activity; they were being spectators. You cannot help but think how many kilocalories worth of acorns were being saved every hour with the doe able to stand back and watch. Although I have to admit, my mind was not on the doe that morning.




 
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer
Image

User avatar
JOEL
 
Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:05 am

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby JOEL » Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:50 am

i will fill a doe managment permit first,i try to take a yearling for the reasons shaman stated,after satisfying my blood lust  i will let small bucks pass hoping to get a bigger deer.I prefer the small does  as food 
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear

User avatar
EatDeer
 
Posts: 726
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:02 pm

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby EatDeer » Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:12 am

 I have seen many young doe's in large groups here, which are now my main focus of harvest. The abundant young doe's in the herd may mean our management efforts are starting to pay off. That also means we need to lay off the older does as well, to reach a age balance. However, I don't see the groups with young bucks in them, so it seems it's not near as easy for the herd to rebound from the over-harvest of bucks. This is mainly because more young bucks are taken by the average hunters, instead of the doe's that should have been harvested, atleast around my area.      
"Let a young buck go, so he can grow."

User avatar
JPH
 
Posts: 3419
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:28 am

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby JPH » Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:40 am

I have been very aggressive in my doe harvest over the past few years and I think I have hurt myself a little. I own a small but thick timber that I suspect is a preferred fawning spot for the dominant does in the area, but it has never been heavily populated. By shooting does early in the season, I am afraid that I have disrupted the natural flow of the rut and I know that I have left some fawns vulnerable.
 
This season, I plan to hold off my doe kills until late season this year. After all, I'm at a 6 doe to 0 buck ratio right now.

User avatar
shaman
 
Posts: 2475
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:38 am

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby shaman » Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:48 am

That rebound is going to be moderated by a bunch of things,  the most important will be hunting pressure.  If someone just outside your property is continuing to nail spikes and baskets, it is going to take a long time.  I was lucky in that at the same time I was clamping down on access I had two other neighbors doing the same thing.  All told, we probably have 500 acres between us all that is no longer a free-for-all.

The other thing to remember is that it took me from 2001 to 2003 to see my first couple of real shooters-- bucks with more than a year or two of antler growth. It has taken from 2001 to 2007 to see the multiple shooters in a weekend.  It's a long struggle anyway you cut it.  However, it isn't a decades-long thing-- not like rebuilding a herd on a statewide basis.  It just takes years to grow big antlers.

If one of my core doe groups  were to vanish, I'm sure that maturing doe from  neighboring groups would fill the niche. I have actually seen this happen. On the other hand, if I suddenly went in and shot a dozen or more doe in a season, it would take several years to see things back the way they are now.  Years ago, I had some experience with that as well.  When I first started deer hunting, the landowner decided my one deer tag was not enough and got 10 nuisance permits and allowed a local outfitter to bring in clients.  In one season, they cleaned out 10 doe from 80 acres.  For the next 5 years, my pickings were extremely slim. Of course back then-- early 80's-- the overall herd size was much smaller, and there were fewer deer overall to fill in an empty niche. 
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer
Image

User avatar
passin through
 
Posts: 746
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:48 am

RE: Shoot does or Leave em alone?

Postby passin through » Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:11 am

My personal thought for my area is to shoot 'em  (within reason of course)
Here's a bit about my deer club:
We hunt on about 10k acres of family and leased lands in North LA.
Our borders have two hunting clubs to the east and west and the state of Arkansas to the North with a state game reserve (public hunting) to the south.  We have some small private land parcels inside our borders where anything goes but most are not heavily hunted.
Our habitat is what the state calls  NW pine/hardwood.  I call it briar thicket/pine thicket/clearcut.  (we don't have 50 acres of hardwood left anywhere on the place.
Our doe management, past to present, goes something like this:
In our area it was a free for all on anything with hard bone for years....This gave us a buck doe ratio that was unbelievably bad  and huge groups of extremely transient deer.  Our recovery has been long and arduous (and I think it took longer because our nieghbors took longer to convert) As a club we instituted a no spike policy about 15 years ago and have gradually tightened up our restrictions on bucks as we went.  About the same time we joined Louisiana's DMAP program in order to (initially) obtain doe tags so we could shoot does any day we wanted instead of waiting for state doe days.  This was mainly done for us dog hunters since we were the only ones taking any doe to speak of.  Even with the ability to take does every day we could not seem to get our membership to harvest does....our Biologist and the state biologist was telling us to shoot one per 100 and we were bareley shooting one per 200  and our harvet ratio was barely 1-1 buck doe and actually closer to 2-1 buck doe.  In other words we were upside down bad.  Over the years though we have taken steps to do more about this....we still have a crazy buck doe ratio but it is not as bad as it was.  Some of the steps have been to educate our hunters to increase thier willingness to pull the trigger while on/ in a stand, encourage early season harvests, sponsored youth hunts and fanning the flames- if you will- with the increasing popularity of bowhunting.  Another step has been for some of the more aggressive younger generation to step in and harvest more does than they normally would in order to make up for the folks that we have that still absolutley will not shoot a doe for any reason.  (the meat goes to the camp or the church) We still harvest 45-55% of our antlerless in december, often while running hounds but we have a good time doing that too since we are a hound club and formed for that purpose.  We try to harvest at least 80% of the tags we are issued and spread them out through the age groups as mush as possible....we are shooting a few fawns but we are also shooting some 8.5 or older does too with a good even spread in between.  In the last year we had the best over all quality buck harvest ever and our highest antlerless harvest ever  (88 does and 4 bucks aged 4.5 or older grossing better than 140, & our 3.5 year old buck harvest finally _barely_ edged out our 2.5 year old harvest)  We still are not shooting 1 per one hundred acres and probably never will but we see noticible change at last.  This year the trail cameras are showing tons of doe...most with twins, and a set of triplets I think, and probably more good bucks than we've seen this early in awhile.  Looks like its gonna be fried backstrap every saturday night from here on out!

Next

Return to General Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 6 guests