Hunting Whitetail Does

In 1997 I began shooting whitetail does. Before this time I had felt that I did not need to shoot does, people on the surrounding properties surely killed enough does to keep the population in check. After seeing doe after doe and few if any bucks on most of my hunting excursions I knew it was time to change my logic.

Why do we need to shoot does?

In many areas our whitetail deer populations no longer have natural predators or the natural predators do not remove enough deer to affect the population. It is not hard to see that a population unchecked will grow out of control. At this point the deer will have low bodyweights, fawn survival will be low, bucks will be in poor health and the deer can remove preferred foods completely to name just some of the affects.

What do we do about this?

Balance the deer herd. Strive as best as you can to achieve a balanced whitetail buck to doe ratio. The simple way to keep track of this ratio is to count the number of bucks and does that you see during hunting season. This is not a perfect science but it will give you an indication.

Which does do you shoot?

A well known author stated that the best doe to shoot is the one that stood still long enough for you to shoot her. I agree.

In the past few years I have tried to only shoot the biggest, the one with buck fawns or the oldest. These philosophies just left me standing there with my arrow still knocked or my gun never fired. Just shoot the first one that gives you a good, clean, safe shot. I now try to fill my doe tags as early in the season as I can. Being picky will just leave you with unfilled doe tags and less meat for deer jerky.

After starting to shoot does in 1997 I have again seen bucks act like bucks should act and whenever I hear the leaves crunching the excitement builds since there is a chance that it could be a buck.


Visit the Whitetail Deer Management Page.