Which Does to shoot?

Discussion in 'Whitetail Management' started by Sligh1, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Wondering if anyone has any theories or rationale for shooting the does they do? I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong answer here!!! A right answer could be “I shoot younger ones for tender meat”. Fair enough. Or “I don’t shoot does with little fawns” - fair enough again. Maybe someone doesn’t care & shoots everything - ok, but not what I’m getting at on this post.
    But.... personally or with any evidence - what do u shoot and why?


    My thoughts (& I could be way off here!!!! ) & variety of reasons why I shoot what I do....

    I shoot “really old does” for 3 biological theories...
    1st is simpler.....
    1) old does are extremely territorial & run off “new deer”. I like having “new deer” coming into land to breed new blood & allow possibly more new genetics and blood lines around.
    2) I talked to a deer breeder. He “claimed” as does get older- the quality of offspring (top end bucks) goes down. I said “don’t genetics stay the same regardless of age?” I can’t fully summarize his response but part of it was nutrition & vigor of offspring being better with younger deer - kinda like a person in late 40’s having far more likelihood of baby with issues or defects or viability. He quit breeding does at like 4-5 maybe??? He had some other reasons I can’t explain. It sounded logical and legit & he was an “expert” who makes decisions based on income & growing bigger deer but who knows.
    3) social stress. Long but serious subject. Old does are nasty. & aside from 3-4 weeks a year - they are Nasty to bucks and bucks don’t wanna be around em. They are aggressive to other does (the old witch kicking the younger deer, u name it).

    other reasons: the old witches that blow at me- so fun to whack em!!!! Lots of meat & still delicious. I am a softy for not wanting to kill young dumb does who have years ahead of them. Old does are smart & crafty- fun to connect & gets rid of one overly paranoid crank.

    that’s just me though. What do u generally target and why? & I’m very curious to hear from folks who have biological & management reasons for they shoot what they shoot. Or - even what time of year they feel it’s best to shoot them.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
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  3. Wi transplant

    Wi transplant PMA Member

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    I second the oldest smartest does first!

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  4. Tmayer13

    Tmayer13 PMA Member

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    Sure I would love to always shoot the oldest nasiest doe but it's just not always the case...we all know they are just as hard to kill as that 6.5 yr old mature buck. So my answer is this: I shoot the oldest doe that I see while I'm doe hunting. Because for me it's about freezer filling and also population control.
    I actually passed what was probably the oldest doe I had ever seen this year but only because I had just spotted my target buck...still my biggest regret of the season

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  5. muddy

    muddy Administrator

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    If they snort they get shot.
     
  6. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    Older does if at all possible. Big snout, big body!
     
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  7. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    That's ^^ a rule to live by right there. :) I am careful to avoid fawns, but about any adult doe is in danger if I am in a doe shooting mood. As such, the age range of the does that I shoot varies, some older, some younger...whatever it takes. :) But I do really get a kick out of knocking down a big doe, they can be pretty cagey and hard to bag.
     
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  8. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    ...if I'm doe hunting i shoot the biggest ones I see. I have the mindset of if I'm going to mess with getting a deer out, gutting it, taking care of the meat, etc it's going to be worth it. Like as in lbs of meat for me or someone else I give it to. I've been out a few times this year intending to shoot a doe but end up passing smaller ones. I'm thinking.... the backstrap just isn't big enough for a $30 arrow and the effort to deal with it.
    Some may find this stupid... but that's how I make my doe decisions! ;)
     
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  9. crietveld

    crietveld Active Member

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    For population control and limiting crop loss, shoot the does dropping triplets every year. Otherwise shoot the big old ones like everyone else said.
     
  10. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    On one farm we try to shoot the ones that bed on the neighbors. With limited bedding on this particular farm we like to leave the locals alone. Personally in high population areas I think having an agressive matriarch doe isn't a bad thing as she can keep other doe groups from setting up shop.
     
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  11. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    We have a neighbor in MN that has 480 prime prime acres and shoots (0) does and that is a problem.

    Very tough to grow plots on ours. We try to take 3-4 every year. Usually go for the mature does.
     
  12. mplane72

    mplane72 Active Member

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    I do like a trophy long nose when given the chance.
     
  13. muddy

    muddy Administrator

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    If I'm in an eatin' mood I'm dropping a doe fawn. Best eating out there, especially since I do all the cooking in house rather than getting sticks and brats done
     
  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Active Member

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    If only one tag, biggest in-range slick-head providing the best shot opportunity is my fist choice. If multiple tags, repeat, until tags or deer are gone. Does are a 'meat' hunt of opportunity and don't excite me anymore, so I don't put any effort into aging or rating them on-the-hoof, other than size. I have recently adopted the, if they snort they may as well have a neon bulls-eye on their chest, tactic that overrides my standard selection process.
     
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  15. Bowhunter88

    Bowhunter88 Member

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    We target the oldest/biggest we see when doe hunting. We always try to fill our doe tags early in the season before the rut. I know that you can't control nature or your herd, but if you shoot does late in the season you can almost guarantee that they have already been bred. Late season doe harvest is potentially taking out the offspring of the big bucks that you are trying to continue their genetics on your farm. I have no idea what buck bred what doe, so by shooting them before they are bred I can guarantee that I am not deleting the superior genetics on the farm. It is also great practice for when a big one shows up...
     
  16. deadeye

    deadeye Active Member

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    Can't recall where I came across the theory but it was along the lines of if you want heard control then shoot the younger does. They will produce more fawns over the next few years then the old tough GMA will. Normally I shoot a one and a half or two and a half year old doe. Early bow try for no fawns. Late muzzle doesn't matter as much to me.

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  17. 150 Class

    150 Class Moderator

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    My main goal is population control. Does with fawns. The fawns will be fine without mama and taking her reduces next years population by 2-3 deer counting her and her fawns. Old does are a fun challenge but I agree with deadeye, they will produce fewer fawns over the next few years, if any considering they might already be done producing fawns.
     
  18. northcedar

    northcedar Active Member

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    For what it's worth, I've also shot a few old blue hair does that didn't taste quite so good anymore. If table fare is a consideration. It is fun to smack the biggest doe in a group though. BDD - big doe down!
     
  19. meyeri

    meyeri PMA Member

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    Sligh, great topic, you just made me rethink shooting the first maturish doe that presents a shot. It makes total sense that older does produce less healthy offspring and drive away new blood; something I never thought about very much. I have 2 distinct old hag does I've known were old for 3 seasons now, the only reason I know is because one has white speckles on her back and the other has a really dark face. I've almost killed one of them every year so far, but I've been a bird in hand guy, so any eating size doe usually gets an arrow when the opportunity presents itself. I'm gonna target at least one of these hags exclusively this late season after reading this.

    Another thing I've noticed with old hag does is that they tolerate less ground scent and scent in general. I had yearlings and 2 yr olds walk right downwind, stop suspiciously, smell and then carry on. These mature does stop, smell and investigate further, which usually leads to blowing or hanging out so long that I can't move a muscle if a shooter approaches. Just another reason to target the oldest does.

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  20. sep0667

    sep0667 Land of the Whitetail

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    I've only ever shot a few does. My only rule has been not to shoot a doe that has a fawn with it. I guess I have empathy for that little fawn if I shoot their mommy.

    This stems from several years ago when hunting one particular stand each time about the same time in the morning a doe with two button fawns would come out of some cedars right by me. After filling my buck tag that year I knew right where I could go to get a shot at a doe. You betcha, she and her fawns came out of the cedars just the same as every time I had sat that stand that season and I shot the doe. Must not have been a very good shot because she only ran about 30 yards and bedded down behind me staring at me. Her two fawns not sure what just happened or what she was doing just milled around browsing. The doe was directly behind me and I was in a big thick trunked oak. I couldn't get around the tree to make another shot. Maybe an hour later I tried a little to hard to try get another shot at her and she took off again. The two fawns started bawwing and crying and slowly followed her. Man I felt so bad I could hardly stand it. Luckily I was able to recover her a few hundred yards away and the fawns were gone. Ever since then I've sworn off shooting a doe that has a fawn with her.
     
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  21. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    Don’t shoot does.

    We aren’t going to shoot our way out of CWD. Only hope is allowing those deer with resistance to be the herd of the future. Let natural selection work.

    Ha ha, snowballs chance in Hades this happens.


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