Doe huntingContributors to this thread:
Brian M. 14-Jan-21
Sand man 14-Jan-21
Maybe a dumb question, but I'm going to ask it anyways. We have pretty good deer numbers in central MN where I'm at here for the last few years. We have been able to take up to 3 antlerless deer if we want. Anyways, I've always (when I think the herd can withstand it) wanted to shoot a doe early and then hunt for some antlers. But the last few years I just can't get a doe close. I hardly see them. I see deer all the time but they're usually yearling bucks or fawns. Am I sitting in the wrong places? Obviously I guess. Do you have a different strategy when chasing does? Maybe I'm not close enough to crop fields. I hunt mainly woods pinch points or acorns. If you do anything different, please share.
Pinch points near easily distinguishable trails coming from a food source to bedding flats would be a good starting point, IMO. Those trails are mostly made and used by does/younger deer....Yeah, I know! Thanks Capt’n Obvious!
Like T-roy says heavy trails early you will see doe. Forrest
Spend some time either before the season or on your first sits where you can see a lot ground. Even it just driving around your hunting area at dawn and dusk. Then put a stand where you are regularly seeing the does. I would not keep doing what you are doing expecting things to be different.
If your hunting heavily hunted public ground then you need to spend time figuring out where the most hunting pressure is and where the deer are going when the pressure is on. Now is a perfect time to spend a million hours and a ton of miles scouting every inche of the ground you have to hunt.
MY two cents......get out now or in the spring while there is snow on the ground and get a feel for where the heavy trails go to and where they come from.....and why the trails are where their at.
I have a lot of experience watching how deer act and have spent much of my life coming to incorrect conclusions. I will offer what I think I know. Deer pattern us as much as we pattern them They live in the woods and fields every day all day. They like to do things the easy way as much as we do. I can offer two things that may be helpful . 1. Deer do not like to be disturbed. You will find them in two places. The first is obvious they will lay up where humans do not like to go. Less obvious is the places that we all "know " they won't be. I found does this year in the door yards of people's houses. I didn't feel comfortable hunting there but the situation stuck in my mind.
From: Brian M.
Restrict yourself to bucks only. You won't see any bucks and does won't leave you alone.
From: Sand man
Find trails, hang cameras, review pics Find trails, hang cameras, review pics Find trails, hang cameras, review pics
Three things you can do to find and hunt does...
A mature doe can be more difficult as hunting a mature buck except during rut. Spent many days on the ground and the older Molly senses are on high alert. Best time to take advantage is in the early season before high interference with humans, suggest to pre-scout and set up accordingly to advantage point. Always said a mature doe can be a challenge especially on the ground.
Keep in mind if you are sitting on what looks like a dynamite trail it might just be that they only use it at night. You will never see them. Especially if lead by an old matriarch doe.
Scrappy, I am primarily a public land guy and I think you are right. And you guys saying the deer pattern us, I agree and believe that is what I'm dealing with on public land. I have a nice private 40 I can hunt and I regularly have does in range there, but it is a one deer zone and I don't want to put my either sex tag on a doe. I want to use a bonus tag. I think scouting early, hunting early and thinking outside the box are the keys. Midday hunts??? Hunting some of the fringe habitats where other hunters don't think to go. Thank you for all the suggestions, I've got some things to go on. And I'll be scouting this weekend some.
I want to share a couple stories to prove the point. I shot my first deer in 1969. I was too young to drive and my brother dropped me off in the dark . As I walked the old logging road I paused to wait for daylight. It was about ten minutes before shooting light when an older hunter came up to me. I spoke to him and he was startled. He told me that I should be hoofing it to the top of the hill as the deer don't live down here. As it was becoming light enough several deer walked by me. It was bucks only so I waited until full light. As soon as I could see well I walked slowly up the old road. Soon I jumped a group of deer. I had read in Outdoor Life that if you spook a deer they might circle back to see what disturbed them. I ran about 100 yards and sat down under a huge maple. Less than a minute later I saw a deer broadside at about 100 yards. I whistled then sat quiet. The little buck came in grunting with every step. I had not heard of bucks grunting so I didn't realize that this was not common. He came in to about 15 feet and put his head down and showed me his legal antlers. I shot him as he turned to run away. I was on him in a second. He kicked and I will say two things. it was a good thing my rifle didn't hold more cartridges and I didn't find out what neck roast tasted like on that deer. Much later in my hunting life I was able to hunt the opening day of rifle season then I was off to another state to work. I flew home for the second weekend of season. I got home at just before midnight on Friday. My wife drove us to my in law's house as I had a doe permit for that part of the state. going to bed ay two in the morning and up at 5:00 didn't work well . I had dosed off too many times before my father in law checked on me. We went to his house and ate lunch at 11:30. I took an nap with explicit instructions to my wife to wake me up at 1:00 It is pitch black by 5:00. At 3:00 I( woke up in a panic. So little time. I entered the woods after the last hunter was leaving. I sat down within 300 yards of the road and waited for my doe. At 4:00 I heard a guy let his dog out. I could hear the dog tags jingling at one point. My confidence was gone but I hung in there. With less than three minutes of shooting light I took an old buck That is still one of the best on my wall. Lesson learned, The deer are there and despite hunting pressure will be in for their evening meal. If I had hunted where conventional wisdom would have had me I wouldn't have taken those deer. I got my doe the next day pushing deer out of an area i knew they would be but never expected to see them. Keep doing the unexpected and SOMETIMES you will be rewarded. Good luck hunting, Bob