Doe harvest increases quality of herd

The timing of doe harvest, as well as the number of animals taken from the herd, is a key component to balancing the deer population and growing better bucks.

In the early years of quality deer management, changing attitudes from only harvesting bucks to acceptance that doe harvests were mandatory to keep ratios in balance was a hard first step.

Today most hunters understand that adequate harvest of female deer is an important management tool, even though they may not fully understand the when and why.

“Once my deer numbers were up, I started thinning out does,” said Leslie Smith from Senatobia. “We start early in the season, before the rut. Removing does keeps bucks in better shape, not wearing themselves out breeding does that end up getting harvested. Plus, there’s that many less deer to feed through the winter.”

For some, it still seems unlikely that killing does actually benefits deer populations. When combined with the use of restraint in harvesting younger bucks, harvesting does actually promotes the health and growth of quality bucks.

“Having too many does in a local deer population leads to reduced nutrition for the entire herd, including young bucks,” claims QDMA founder Joe Hamilton. “Less nutrition means reduced body weights and reduced antler development.

“The worst scenario is a property or club that aggressively pursues the harvest of bucks only and takes no female deer out of the population. My suggestion is that managers should have a plan in place prior to the season for quality deer management and that plan should include the number of does that should be harvested.”

About Phillip Gentry 404 Articles
Phillip Gentry is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer who says that if it swims, walks, hops, flies or crawls he’s usually not too far behind.

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