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September 22, 2008


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Great stuff. We have always harvested our does early. Although, it was more of a fill the freezer first before you go after the mature buck reasoning. Now, with the Earn-A-Buck program in Wisconsin, unless you've pre-qualified by shooting a doe in the previous year, you have to shoot a doe early. Dr. Woods makes some great points. As always, this is the best deer hunting site on the net.

Many of the trophy hunters I know won't shoot does until they have killed their buck, period. They are afraid it will "mess up" their hunting areas for the season if they shoot a doe, then have to track, gut and drag her out.

Good advice from Dr. Woods (as usual).


right on with what Doug said.....like to put some meat in the freezer, and in ILLINOIS after gun season it is very hard to bow hunt does ........they are so spookey that if you even think about drawing your bow they can read your mind and bolt!!!!!! :)

in reality it is much harder to kill a mature old doe than a buck....... he always has his mind on several things....... the doe has her mind on avoiding you from Dec. through end of Jan.

Great info from site.......gets better all the time

I usually take a doe with my bow or in black powder season. I make sure the freezer is full by thanksgiving always.
I was out over the weekend and I did not see any deer, however, it was pretty warm. I did not find any rubs or scrapes but I didn't do much scouting.


Flatlander, you're exactly right. It might be easier to see does than mature bucks. But if a buck is walking in range they seem to very rarely bust you like a doe will in the same situation.

Personally, I shoot them whenever I can Get a shot... Good Management

I agree with Doug and Flatlander, we always take our does early. 1- for long awaited meat. 2- Nothing beats live practice. 3-Lot easier to tell does from nubs, 4- Stronger rut.The earn a buck can also play a role but if we got credit left from last year we can use that this year. Yeah shooting a doe can screw things up if it goes into your sanctuary or what have you but I try to do it on the other side of the farm and I realize not everybody has the land to do that, so what ever works for you and your program is best.Ive also read (dont know if it was here) that if you shoot a doe with a nubby that nubby has a better chance of staying in that area. Anybody else hear of that? It makes sense to me as the doe will not kick them out the following breeding season.

Thought I would bring this up for your thoughts: I gotta a buddy at work who on their land absolutely refuses to shoot does. They have even gone so far as to harrass people for shooting does at the registration stations! There theory is that during the rut the bucks will come to where the does are. They do get their bucks every year but their land that used to be good cover is nothing but canary grass and a few barren trees.In my opinion this is a perfect example of the biological carrying capacity of a certain land. Without managing the deer they will browse everything you have and your left with a skeleton woods.Anybody else leave does so that bucks will come to the girls and does it work for you?

that guy is an idiot... If there are a lot of does, the bucks dont respond as well to ccalls

The fewer does available to any given buck for breeding purposes means more time on his feet searching for a hot doe which makes him more likely to respond to rattling, grunts, bleats or even your climber scraping the tree on your way up. When a buck finds a hot doe he stays with her and breeds her multiple times. My favorite time in the woods is the "chase fase" a week to two weeks before the majority of actual breeding takes place. The bucks are all fired up and all over the place looking for that one hot doe. Since the majority of the does are not quite yet ready for breeding he is a very frustrated creature abd very vulnerable to calling. Less availabe does = more bucks seeking = BBD!!!!! Happy hunting.


Dr. Woods answered this same question a few years ago like this: When is the best time to harvest a doe? Grant's response went like this:"When she presents you with a good kill shot!"


It cracks me up that so-called "trophy" hunters hold off on does because they think it'll ruin their buck hunting later. The deer density in my part of the world is high enough where we don't worry about that. Shoot first, ask questions later, is my motto. I'll shoot does whenever I get a chance, wether it's early season, late season, during the rut, etc.

Another thing I've learned from studying Dr. Kroll's teachings is that younger does produce more, and larger bucks. They aren't quite sure why this is so, but it's so nonetheless.

The tighter the buck:doe ratio is the better shape the herd will be. Wether that's this year, next year, or the following years. Less breeding stress on bucks, means larger racks, larger bodies, and healthier specimens. Modern hunters should look to kill does at every opportunity. ANd, they should look to continue that every year...so long as the herd is healthy and "normal" (no EHD outbreaks, etc.)

And, remember....those old gals are "doe-licious"!!!

Hey, guys, my electricity is up and running again as of this morning.

We've got a ton of does on our place and it's really not hard to kill one any time one wants to between opening weekend and Dec. 1st.
After that you have to have a permit and I haven't been able to talk all of the others that it's the right thing to do. I'll usually try to shoot a doe opening weekend late in the morning or early in the afternoon.


Glad to hear you are returning to some sense of normalcy.


You are exactly right. Killing does WHEN you can is the way to do it.


I'm going to try to take'em early and often. I can kill a total of 5. That's quite a bit of sausage and jerky. Hopefully I can have few down before the rut kicks in. I shot one a few years ago in mid november. She was alone, I already tagged my buck so I was doe hunting, My shot was a little far back but I watched her go down. To my amazement a buck come running up and tried to mount her. She jumped up and ran about a half a mile before going down for good. I was lucky to recover her without the snow to track her in, I probably would have lost her. So I plan on taking a break on the skinheads come late October through November. Then it will be on again in December.

I'm back from my Missouri bow hunting (and that is another story!!)

Anyway, thanx Mike (and Grant)for the great information posted. Our group usually harvest the does later in the year, but we will try the early season approach and measure our results!

Fantastic comments by all and great site for quality information!

I accidentally put this question on the EAB story. Can you drive you buck to doe ratio so low that bucks will leave your area in search of more does to breed?

Bucks are going to leave your property in search of a hot doe unless you have a very very large hunting area. IMO you can't have to low of a buck to doe ratio. I have yet to see a place with more bucks than does....it just does not happen.


Don, I think I would agree with that. I was curious to hear what the others on the blog thought about it.


One hot doe will draw them in!!!

An annual scenerio that still to this day stymies me. I have this thick creek bottom
on one property that for some unknown reason, always harbors a young lone doe.
(no fawns...always one winter of age)

The doe will always be by herself and rarely socializes with the rest of the herd all season long. Well come the rut....holy cow! her and the creek gets trampled! Some days, two to four bucks will be up and down that creek pushing her all day long. Why the
lone doe / creek hugging animal she is???....but every season I can count on downing a great buck , either with a bow or gun sitting downwind side of that creek!

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