HuntStand Hunting App
Shooting the largest does.
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
goyt 20-Dec-20
Franzen 20-Dec-20
SIP 20-Dec-20
Dale06 20-Dec-20
Scooby-doo 20-Dec-20
Bou'bound 20-Dec-20
goyt 20-Dec-20
drycreek 20-Dec-20
buckeye 20-Dec-20
RIT 20-Dec-20
ahunter76 20-Dec-20
APauls 20-Dec-20
DNEWER 20-Dec-20
Thornton 20-Dec-20
LINK 20-Dec-20
Owl 20-Dec-20
pav 20-Dec-20
SIP 20-Dec-20
JL 20-Dec-20
Thornton 20-Dec-20
Lee 20-Dec-20
Zbone 20-Dec-20
rallison 20-Dec-20
GF 20-Dec-20
Shuteye 20-Dec-20
4nolz@work 20-Dec-20
W 21-Dec-20
LINK 21-Dec-20
IdyllwildArcher 21-Dec-20
pirogue 23-Dec-20
Shuteye 23-Dec-20
Missouribreaks 24-Dec-20
Zbone 24-Dec-20
Hank 24-Dec-20
Shawn 24-Dec-20
Blue Buck 24-Dec-20
greenmountain 24-Dec-20
Missouribreaks 24-Dec-20
Shawn 24-Dec-20
Cornpone 25-Dec-20
JL 25-Dec-20
Dutch oven 25-Dec-20
Zbone 14-Jan-21
goyt 14-Jan-21
LKH 14-Jan-21
Zbone 15-Jan-21
Sand man 15-Jan-21
DanaC 15-Jan-21
dm/wolfskin 15-Jan-21
Tradmike 15-Jan-21
From: goyt
20-Dec-20
I give away deer every year and the recipient pays to have them processed. To keep it attractive for them I try to only shoot large does and to try to damage as little meat as possible. Processing fees are high and there really is not a lot of meat on a smaller deer. When I was eating everything I shot I would try to shoot young does but now I hold out for big does. Yesterday I shot a doe that was bigger then a yearly buck that came by her. Now I am wondering if shooting that huge doe eliminated what could have been a source of huge bucks. Do you think that targeting large does hurts the size of bucks on a property?

From: Franzen
20-Dec-20
No. When they get that big, they've already passed a lot of whatever genes they have on. How do you attempt to not damage meat? There's ways this can be done with a rifle, but not sure I understand with a bow. Maybe you just mean after the shot.

From: SIP
20-Dec-20
In my unprofessional, mostly worthless opinion....there is zero way of knowing. There is no telling what that doe has in her as far as “big bucks” because there is no way of telling what genetics she has. All u know is that she would likely have two fawns in the spring. But if she sticks around, her buck fawn is gonna disperse anyway, right?

In my opinion, if ur shooting a deer for maximum meat yield, which should be primary reason for filling a tag IMO, then you shoot mature deer.

Dont worry about it because in the end, you have no idea which doe has the best genetics to have fawns that could be big bucks. What you do know tho, is that you provided good meat yield to the person in need but in relation to the herd, you removed a mouth from the herd. Which in turn increases available forage for the other mouths. More food equals healthier deer, healthier deer equals “bigger” bucks or at least more potential for bigger bucks. Healthier does put more into the fawn to give it a better start versus having to keep their own bodies in good shape, healthier bucks can put more energy into growing bigger racks because their bodies are healthy.

Thats how i look at it anyway. Blessed are we to be able to do this stuff and worry about these things, ain’t we? God is good

From: Dale06
20-Dec-20
How do you know that a little smaller doe wouldn’t drop out a future booner next May. Shoot the one you want to shoot, and don’t over think stuff.

From: Scooby-doo
20-Dec-20
Lung shot deer with a bow, you dont damage any meat. Shoulder shot with a bow normally wrecks both shoulders depending on angle. I say it depends on the population in your area. If numbers are lower than only shoot fawns if you really want meat. Also as has been said if your are shooting older does they alreay have spread their genes. Shawn

From: Bou'bound
20-Dec-20
Don’t over think this. If she’s in range kill her

From: goyt
20-Dec-20
As Scobby-doo pointed out I try to only shoot with either gun and bow when the doe is close enough to broadside so that I only get body cavity. I aim at does a little farther back than I do bucks. With a bow I limit my shots at does to 25 yards and with a rifle I will shoot 80 yards or so but I will have a solid rest at a standing deer at that distance.

I shoot does to protect the habitat so shooting fawns is not my first choice. If it is the last day I am going to hunt and I want to process it myself I may shoot a doe fawn. Of course I have shot the biggest deer in a group and had it be a buck fawn.

There are some great points above. Thank you. The dispersal of most of the buck fawns does reduce the impact of the genetics of the resident deer herd. Food is certainly ways up there as far as attracting young bucks and growing them into big bucks. I have to believe that just like people some family's have larger bodies and some have smaller. There are exceptions where a huge man has a small mother and father but to some extent IMO body size is genetic. I do agree with Dale06 that I should not over think this.

From: drycreek
20-Dec-20
What SIP said.

From: buckeye
20-Dec-20
I wouldn't pick tomatoes in my garden before they reached optimal size, same goes for harvesting game. Shoot the bigguns

From: RIT
20-Dec-20
I did read an article once that stated you shouldn’t shoot the resident matriarch doe. But I think a lot of factors depends on what your goals are. It’s a fact that immature does aren’t quite as good of mothers, finding the right daily feeding locations and avoiding predators like mature does can. Mature does also drop more fawns (and they survive) than immature does... How are the deer numbers? Are they destroying your habitat? If so then reducing doe numbers may be more important than which doe you kill. If you lack deer numbers might be a better option to pass on the mature doe.

From: ahunter76
20-Dec-20

ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
No problem with people taking does, I have many over the years. I give em all a pass now for the younger, newer hunter.. I shoot em with my camera now waiting for the big boys.

From: APauls
20-Dec-20
You’ll never know as far as genetics go but if your goal is to have fawns make it through, mature does are correlated to higher fawn survival.

From: DNEWER
20-Dec-20
****DISCLAIMER**** the opinions expressed by this post reflect the experience and first hand knowledge of the poster and in no way are intended to discredit or disagree with your first hand experiences****DISCLAIMER****

It’s probably not a good idea to kill the lead doe year in and year out.

From: Thornton
20-Dec-20
If you want numbers, shooting the big old does is the worst. They are more likely to have twins or triplets, and are the eyes and ears of the herd. Shooting a young, barren doe is best.

From: LINK
20-Dec-20
I have two words.... fawn mignon.

From: Owl
20-Dec-20
In VA, antlerless deer die. The more, the merrier.

From: pav
20-Dec-20
If I'm shooting a doe for personal consumption or to donate, a year and a half old doe with no fawns is my target animal. We have a couple older does on the farm that seem to come into estrous early...which pulls bucks from neighboring properties. I just won't risk shooting one of those does when there is always an abundance of dry yearling does on the property. Besides a fawn, which I won't shoot, best deer meat you can get.

From: SIP
20-Dec-20
Barren doe...lol

Right after u shoot a real life unicorn. Or hug a sasquatch...

From: JL
20-Dec-20
IMO......I would define a "large" doe as an older one more so than size. I've gotten a 9yr old and two 8 yr olds IAW the DNR bio's. Those old ones are very smart and a challenge to get.

From: Thornton
20-Dec-20
"Barren" to me means no fawns that I can see SIP. I've seen many does here in my part of KS with no fawns probably due to our coyote problem. I've seen dozens of coyotes this year already and shot 2 without even hunting for them.

From: Lee
20-Dec-20
Unless you have really good habitat most 1.5 year old does will not have fawns. Only barren because they didn’t get bred as fawns. They are typically your fattest does as they don’t have a fawn or fawns nursing on them all summer. With that being said I usually kill the bitchiest one in the group. You can always spot them as they are on high alert when all the others aren’t paying attention to much and often kicking the other does around. Usually an older doe for sure. I’ll shoot a fawn in a heartbeat late season as ours are about 80 pounds at that point. Can’t beat the taste. I won’t shoot a fawn early, though as they just don’t have the weight.

Lee

From: Zbone
20-Dec-20
All mature does get a pass from me especially the matriarchs, I'm with RIT and others...

Personally hunt for the biggest bucks in my areas, but if need of meat, I'd target fawns... As discussed in another thread they might disperse anyhow... Another plus of fawns are tender and easier to handle alone... Am pretty picky, the biggest and littlest of the herd I'll kill, all others in between get passes...

From: rallison
20-Dec-20
When my home state of Wisconsin was bungling through CWD, doe tags were handed out like crazy. My area was decimated, but the DNR persisted with earn a buck, necessitating one kill an antlerless to acquire a buck tag. It did grow some great bucks...I'll give em that.

But our numbers were bad...real bad. My son had a couple bow kills under his belt, but was still a novice, albeit enthusiastic, bow hunter. Now 33, he still is!

So, I told him if a doe with fawns comes by...shoot one of the fawns. And if it was a nubby with a doe fawn, shoot the doe fawn. The reasoning being to leave the old girl fo bear more twins. Fortunately, the rules changed after a few years.

On the other side, we had one old @#$% matriarch traveling through with twins to triplets who made it her life's work to find me, stay just out of range, stomp...snort...and generally alert every deer in the township aware of my/our intrusion. Uncanny...like clockwork...no matter where I hunted the area. If she made a mistake, I was taking her out! But that wise old girl never did...lol.

From: GF
20-Dec-20
If you’re trying to help someone out by giving them a deer they’ll have to pay to process, the bigger, the better, eh?

If you’re looking to thin the herd, your best bet is a 2.5 YO doe - more likely than a 1.5 to drop twins, and a lot of years’ worth of twins & triplets ahead of her.

If you think your private reserve is big enough to hold bucks and you want more shoot a doe with a buck fawn in tow; she can’t drove him off if she’s dead, and young bucks suffer far higher mortality during dispersal than the ones that can stay in their natal territory.

If numbers are low and you want SOME meat, best bet is a fawn. Only half of them survive their first winter anyway, and not having to care for fawns nor compete with them for food increases the odds of a mature doe dropping twins in the spring.

Or at least that’s what Val Geist told me.

From: Shuteye
20-Dec-20
When I am going to give a deer away I try to shoot a mature doe do to the cost of the processing for the recipient of the deer. For myself, I mainly hunt large does or even a yearling and have often passed bucks to shoot a doe. The only thing antlers are good for is to stir the soup. At my age and as many deer that I have killed, I hunt for the meat.

From: 4nolz@work
20-Dec-20

4nolz@work's embedded Photo
4nolz@work's embedded Photo

From: W
21-Dec-20
Processors charge the same for a 50 lb fawn or a 300 lb buck? Not the processors around me.

From: LINK
21-Dec-20

LINK's embedded Photo
Here’s a 1.5 year old “barren” doe.
LINK's embedded Photo
Here’s a 1.5 year old “barren” doe.
Where I live it’s usually so much per pound then they place a lien on your house if you want jerky or specialty meats. If you cube your meat and take it in to be ground it’s usually somewhere around $0.50/ pound for them to run it through a grinder.

21-Dec-20
I like to shoot the brown ones.

From: pirogue
23-Dec-20
What are you calling a big doe, weight wise, in each state? I shot a big, mature doe in southern MO this fall that weighed 125 lbs. I shot a mature doe in south AR this year that probably wouldn’t break 100 lbs.

From: Shuteye
23-Dec-20
When I started hunting back in the early 50's you were allowed one deer and it had to be a buck. Does were protected. Then they opened doe season and you had to get a permit to kill one. My mother stood in line to get me a permit while I was in school. I killed my first doe and it field dressed a tad over 160 pounds. Now, in the same place, a big doe will go 130 pounds. Now you can kill 15 does and most farmers get crop damage permits to kill more.

24-Dec-20
I had similar experiences as Shuteye, and agree with his post.

From: Zbone
24-Dec-20
Yeah Ohio used to be the same in the 70's to draw for a doe permit... Now a landowner complains crop damage when raccoons and groundhogs are mainly doing it, a wildlife officer will come and hand them "damage" permits (I call them kill permits) 10 at a time... They hand them out like candy...

From: Hank
24-Dec-20
I think it depends on your goals along with the habitat, deer density, age structure overall of the deer population in your area, etc. I hadn't thought about it before, but I don't think I'll worry too much about a big doe being a concern for big bucks being born. I mean, JJ Watt is a big dude but from the looks of those Subway commercials his mother is a little thing. Ha! (But yes, I get it, humans and deer are not the same.) I recall reading something from researcher John Ozoga describing that adult does are one of the main things that cause young bucks to disperse, depending on habitat type. So if the goal is to have bucks stick around and grow, some might say killing an appropriate amount of adult does is the ticket. To each there own in this practice of course!

24-Dec-20
The old does know your favorite stand locations. They teach their young to avoid those areas.

They teach their young to run at the smell of NJ, and how to identify Sitka camo. Take them out when possible!

From: Shawn
24-Dec-20
I plan on filling 20 nuisance permits this year, no meat damage as I will take close range head shots. My last sit this year I counted 83 deer from my stand. All different deer. All within 200 yds. I will try and shoot only the big old nanny does at least 3.5 years or older. Try and do that during season in a bow only area. They wise up quick!! If I was giving them away and people had to pay to process them I would shoot all the 1.5 year old does I could, better eating and of fair size. I donate almost all of the ones I shoot but do take the back loins on a lot of them. Shawn

From: Blue Buck
24-Dec-20
There was a deer biologist on one the Meateater podcasts that said the size of the buck is dependant on how healthy its mother was when pregnant. The study was done in South Dakota if I recall correctly. That said, we have a lot of large does in my area so I don't pay much attention and shoot whichever doe that walks by.

24-Dec-20
Biology and emotion seldom line up. If the land can support 100 deer Through the winter then you want 100 deer alive when winter starts. Fewer are not a problem but more deer. Let's get real simple in this discussion . Lets assume that 50% of the deer are does and all of them carry twins. That means with a 100% yield there will be 100 deer next spring . By summer there will be 200 deer . That means that half of the deer must die before the next winter or there won't be enough resources to support the deer. Nature is cruel but efficient. In nature not all deer survive the winter. That brings the number down. Predators like fawns so that brings the number down. We hunters take our share but we are not as efficient as we think we are. Lets assume that 150 deer make it into winter. 150 deer will eat all the food that they can to stay strong and healthy . The habitat will degrade from the overuse of the resources so next winter the land will support fewer deer. The upshot of my long dissertation is take as many deer as you have a use for. It doesn't matter too much which mouth you stop feeding. Keep the deer numbers down to where the habitat can support them and If you want more deer, and who doesn't , work on the habitat so you can feed more animals through the winter.

24-Dec-20
Greenmountain pretty much summed it up. The State will worry about the greater deer population and control the overall harvest with permit allocations, protecting predators, etc.

What you do have some control over is the herd in your immediate area, especially if you own the land. Habitat enhancement is fun. My hats off to all who pay it forward by improving habitat.

From: Shawn
24-Dec-20
I for one don't want more deer, our rut sucks cause with so many does there is no need for bucks to roam looking for does, they don't need to lay down a bunch of sign and the rut is long and dragged out with no real peak or no great chasing phase. Also too many deer make it tough to get in undetected and getting out even worse. Than try and get drawn on an old cagey doe when ya have 15 sets of eyeballs and noses all around you. In the bow only area I hunt we have a huge problem that's why I try and kill 15 or 20 every year after bow season as I can use my rifles . Shawn

From: Cornpone
25-Dec-20
pirogue "What are you calling a big doe, weight wise, in each state? I shot a big, mature doe in southern MO this fall that weighed 125 lbs. I shot a mature doe in south AR this year that probably wouldn’t break 100 lbs."

I weigh most of my deer and do my own butchering. Here in NY an average 1.5 YO doe is about 90 to 105. A big doe is 120 to 125. I shot a 125 last year, a 120 this year. Both were the two largest doe I had seen in awhile. Naturally, on a bell curve, there will be exceptions.

Also, regarding damaging meat, I don't see it. The hemorrhaging which occurs with a bow is generally between the different muscles and can be "scraped" away. Gun different story...within the meat and you'll lose some.

From: JL
25-Dec-20
GM.....I think your math is off a little (150 deer the following summer, not 200) but you make a good point. However, unless they're pen deer, I would think deer travel to the food if they can't find much where they're at.

From: Dutch oven
25-Dec-20
If you assume each doe has twins, GM's math is correct.

From: Zbone
14-Jan-21

Zbone's embedded Photo
Zbone's embedded Photo
No way I'll shoot this ole gal...8^) Looks like she doesn't miss a meal...8^) Trail cam pix taken last night...

From: goyt
14-Jan-21
When I see a deer like that I wonder if they are sick. An extended stomach like that is usually not healthy. What do you think?

From: LKH
14-Jan-21
We suffered several years of EHD so our herd was very low. I didn't and wouldn't allow anyone hunting on me to shoot does for a number of years. Recently we saw good numbers and I allowed some does to be killed. One off limits doe is one that has had triplets for several years.

Now the neighbor who has a pet pheasant shooting permit has been waging war on the does since they eat a lot of his corn. I've cut back on doe hunting.

I never shoot a doe by itself. It's too easy to shoot a buck fawn if you don't have fawns around to judge whether or not it's a doe.

From: Zbone
15-Jan-21
Don't know Cliff.. I get the pot belly, but If sick, ya'd think she wouldn't be in that kind of shape, especially this time of year... I'm kind of inclined to believe in LINK's analogy over on the other thread - "She’s just big boned"...8^) I know she's eating good, look at her hams and shoulders, she's built like a grain fed steer before slaughter...8^) Three weeks before season's end and my buddy helps me cut up venison is drooling, but she gets a pass...8^) I hope she fawns triplites...8^)

From: Sand man
15-Jan-21
IMO, it depends on the structure of the doe family groups. There have been does that caused issues for me while hunting. For example, I have a mature doe and fawn that are the only two deer that travel downwind of one of my prime stands. They cut a corner going straight through a neighboring property. I have good numbers of deer that travel the inside corner of the timber block. I’d love to kill both of them. Deer are creatures of habit, sometimes it’s not the age but the habit that plays the major role. JMO. Additionally, a vast majority of yearlings will disperse, if you have the numbers within doe family groups you want to see, might preference would be to target anything but the larger does within those groups.

From: DanaC
15-Jan-21
The 'pot belly' could indicate that the browse she's currently eating is low in nutrients, so she is eating more to compensate.

From: dm/wolfskin
15-Jan-21
Some of ya'll are thinking way too much but carry on.

From: Tradmike
15-Jan-21
You should be shooting does of all ages not just older ones.

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