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Shooting does

One bad year of EHD in your area where it kills 75% to 85% you won't have to worry about deer populations for about five years. Be careful on this so called deer management. EHD devastated the population a couple years back on our farm and it is finally rebounding. Even with our deer population at a low, some were still treating does like sewer rats in the area. In most cases you have neighbors with small parcels, that want to shoot every doe they can. Not against shooting does but do it with caution because things can change in one bad month.
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.
My neighbor takes 70 plus a year, we have done 15 to 35 a year for several years. Can't even tell the numbers are effected. Unique area. We have another farm that numbers and quality have never seemed to recover from the bad EHD years.
I’ve owned my current property for 8 years. Doe harvest has been very limited as the population appears well below capacity. Plenty of food and cover, no discernible browse line along with food leftover into March are all signs that the numbers are steady. I’m taking one every other year on average off this place, but try to get one on public or permission property if possible.

I remember the late 2000s glory days, hunting everywhere was just better. We’d crush the does and more would keep coming. EHD put an end to that.
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