Here’s one suggest – how about right now? Harvesting doe, is an important management tool that is vital to the health of your deer herd. When to use your doe tags is often debated among hunters. Here are some considerations for taking a doe early in the season to think about. But don’t be fooled by those claiming that taking doe will hurt your herd and deer sightings, it can actually improve it.
First, let’s assume that you understand your current buck to doe ratio, and you have a healthy deer population. If you don’t know your buck to doe ratio, or you are unsure how to determine this ratio, we urge you to visit the Quality Deer Management Associations website QDMA.com. You will find plenty of resources to help you with this.
Next consider what is common among many hunters – you are determined to take that big eight or ten pointer you have been watching on the trail cameras. You decide that you will focus on the buck on your property through the rut. Then if you haven’t used your tags you may consider taking a doe. By waiting until after the rut, you are taking doe that have already bred – you just don’t whether it’s by a mature buck or a two and a half year old. And doe that should be harvested early, may have been bred by the buck with the dominant genes, even though she may not be a healthy doe.
But, if you are selective in the early season in taking doe that are either reaching the upper end of the age structure, or those that don’t have the best characteristics, you leave the mature doe to be bred during the rut. Hopefully passing along good genes and characteristics for future generations.
Secondly, by taking these doe out in the early season, you are decreasing the number of viable doe that can be bred during the rut. What is significant about this, is that bucks will be more aggressive seeking out these remaining doe, and will compete amongst each other much more than before. This is where using your doe tags can actually improve your deer sightings, especially with mature bucks.
Hopefully the concept of better, healthier doe, breeding during the rut – and increased buck activity and competition for doe, are something worthwhile to you as a hunter. And this should influence your philosophy of when to use your doe tags.
As for those who believe doe shouldn’t be harvested, you are hurting future generations – and this idea can lead to pretty negative consequences. If there are too many deer, this will negatively impact your lands carrying capacity for a healthy deer herd. When food and mineral resources are overused, the overall health of deer will suffer. This can lead to unhealthy doe, problems fawning future generations, and disease – sending your deer herd back years.