I’ll throw a few side notes to all the great stuff posted above….
1) I’ve shot “more does than we could eat (to donate to others) in effort to improve herd”. The years I did it “big league”…. It for sure hurt us the few years later. Bucks literally killed eachother. We did kill every bully buck - so bucks got killed with does. But far higher # does killed. We killed too many does. Our ratio got tight. I went from never finding 2 bucks locked together to finding 4 locked pairs of locked up bucks in 2 years. Busted up bucks like crazy. Stabbed out eyeballs, u name it!! I had more bucks die of injury & fighting than normal by long shot. More bucks leave, etc. MY POINT OR MY LEARNING: I did need to thin some does but there was an imaginary line I know I crossed. I won’t do that again at that level. It’s freezer meat for us now.
2) I’m all over the state on lots of farms. Im gonna guess 80%+ of “hunting areas” are well below “high deer #’s”. Insanely below “carrying capacity”. Few pockets that are high… big land owners that don’t allow hunting or shooting does. Those areas have problems with social stress, damage to browse & crops, etc. It’s vast minority of cases I see.
3) good to remind anyone discussing with the public, non hunters, farmers, legislators, etc…. We have 3 tools usually not being utilized to deal with high deer # pockets: 1) depredation tags 2) DNR officers with standing lists of hunters willing to shoot does. 3) $ incentives for angry farmers to enroll their land in walk-in hunting: kills the deer off & they get paid!!!!
4) The BEST thing shooting does has done on the POSITIVE SIDE, IMO…. The guys who “had to kill a buck” & claimed “gotta fill the freezer” as they pile young bucks yearly… getting those folks changed to shooting A DOE instead. Or maybe 2. That’s a HUUUUGGGGEEEE game changer across Midwest!!!! Huge positive. It can go south when 1-2 turns into 10-20 - but it’s saved a whole lotta young bucks with that change in last 20 years.