Belo

Early Season Does

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For me, it's a matter of convenience. I like to hang deer, and that's tough without a walk-in cooler during early season. But I also won't shoot doe during the rut, unless there's a kid involved. So I pick and choose my times - last night would have been okay as it got to 34 degrees here this morning. But all I had in front of me were bucks. Go figure! Also, doe are a dime a dozen here during muzzleloader, so any unfilled tags can be used then, if needed. I usually give 3-4 deer away to my graduate students and postdocs (perk of working in NehrkeLab), and I usually take them late in the season. One is enough for my family, maybe a second for Costanza's. So c'mon cool weather!

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13 hours ago, left field said:

Can someone school me on family group disruption?

There's a group of seven does and older fawns that are coming into my "backyard" every day. This is the largest group I've ever seen here and I can sit on my back porch and the young ones will come into 20 yard range. I was going to shoot my ML yesterday and had to shoo them away from the target. Of course, my wife has named them.

The oldest doe will pick me up and stare me down. What happens if she's taken out? The middle ones? The smallest are a little too small to shoot.

Alpha does teach the ways to the young in the family group, per say.

Taking an alpha can change alot based on my observations - not scientific but I've seen areas that were "take it to the bank" spots to hit for bucks during the rut because you knew the doe family group's habits and general time they go into estrous (over years). I remember taking an old alpha doe and the place fell apart. It took years for the unit to come back around in terms of behaviors and patterns and never quite got back to the same routine. Hate to say it but the only time I like to take an alpha is when she knows she is being hunted. I'm not risking the behaviors and patterns of a family unit that you can bank on.

Taking a mid-age or young doe is easy enough IMO.

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I always tell myself to shoot a doe or 2 early on, as I wait for MR Right.. If the local doe herd are doing what you want them to do, dont shoot the biggest doe from the group.. thats many times the leader of the pack,  guiding the others in effort to survive. Which is a good thing,  bc they may very easily lose pattern if you take the matriarch doe from the heard. Then the woods become harder to hunt.. But it really all depends what your goal for the season is.. and whether or not the meat is really that important to you or not.. My idea is to take a deer and have little impact on the herd as possible. I would unless a target buck is showing patterns, take most of your doe quota early as possible. Shooting a doe after being bred also takes 2-4 deer for next year depending on your population needs.. and if your into managing the herd at all.. Also, a dead doe on opener of gun season can bring bucks in and around you as she lays there deceased..

some things to consider..   but it all depends on your goal for the season or future seasons 

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5 hours ago, Trial153 said:

I fill my antlers tags early in an area and properties that I dont buck hunt on anyway, I make it a non issue

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so you don't shoot them on the properties you buck hunt on why? Or is it just that you have ample opportunities at other places?


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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Some others brought this up, and my cousin and I had this convo last night. She brought up a good point about one of our properties. It's an absolute struggle to get them out, and right/wrong or indifferent it's just not worth the effort for a doe when we have other easier spots to haul them out of. Same I think can be applied to morning/evening or weekday/weekend. Can I skip a work meeting for a nice buck? Do I have to track at night etc...

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"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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This question is probably irrelevant as you're a meat hunter, but despite the herd size, have you or others ever wondered "what if SHE was the doe that brought him past my stand on 11/3?"

Yea I wonder but I’m huntinh the suburbs this year loaded with deer, I want meat gunna knock one down


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so you don't shoot them on the properties you buck hunt on why? Or is it just that you have ample opportunities at other places?
Both. I don't like to put unnecessary pressure on property that I know i am hunting a mature deer on. I wait till the conditions are right then i go in and hunt him. Fortunately i have plenty of places to hunt so I able to fill my doe tags someplace else.
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8 hours ago, phade said:

Alpha does teach the ways to the young in the family group, per say.

Taking an alpha can change alot based on my observations - not scientific but I've seen areas that were "take it to the bank" spots to hit for bucks during the rut because you knew the doe family group's habits and general time they go into estrous (over years). I remember taking an old alpha doe and the place fell apart. It took years for the unit to come back around in terms of behaviors and patterns and never quite got back to the same routine. Hate to say it but the only time I like to take an alpha is when she knows she is being hunted. I'm not risking the behaviors and patterns of a family unit that you can bank on.

Taking a mid-age or young doe is easy enough IMO.

Thanks, phade. Exactly the info I was looking for. I'll wait until one of the younger ones is alone.

Edited by left field

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there is also something to be said for taking out the nanny doe who is more likely to spot and blow your cover then any other deer in the woods. Come full-rut the mature buck starts to think more and more like a teenage boy and can often drop his guard in pursuit of the poon-tang. The mature doe is always on guard just waiting to stomp and blow at you for blinking.

haha


"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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