View Full Version : Shooting a doe, a regional no-no?

November 20, 2011, 12:18 AM
Was watching that California game warden show on nat-geo. They were looking for a poacher who shot a doe. But the warden implied that not only was shooting a doe illegal, but also immoral. Was it maybe that it was spring and the doe may have had young? Do westerners frown on shooting doe's? Why?

November 20, 2011, 12:56 AM
When I went hunting in Ohio a few years ago (teenager, I was a resident at the time) we could get 2 doe tags, or one buck and one doe. This was during gun season, first week after Thanksgiving.

November 20, 2011, 01:25 AM
I've lived in CA since 1971 and for some reason they are frowned upon, or at least that is my take. I have been told that the Department of Fish and Game leaves the decision up to the county governments, and they being elected officials certainly don't want to do anything to hurt their chances of getting votes so it's usually a no. I even read once in our local newspaper where my county turned down a doe hunt because one of the boards advisors said, "I can see no sport in hunting does".

I always thought we were supposed to be doing what was best for the deer herd, not sport hunting? Never mind I guess that our doe to buck ratio is around 200:1:mad:

November 20, 2011, 02:16 AM
In the land of the tree huggers, shooting does is akin to shooting ducks on the pond. No self respecting hunter there would even think of lighting off a round at bambi's mom. Afterall, they are the "weaker" sex.

Ive been in Bama for a decade or so and it took me 6 years before I could bring myself to shooting one. Even now its difficult to do. Old habits and training are hard to overcome.

November 20, 2011, 02:36 AM
Trophies are nice. But the venison is just as delicious and the pelt is just as useful from a doe. My dad has bagged some big does. Good eating for a while.

November 20, 2011, 03:10 AM
It's all about managing the herd,. Taking does helps keep the herd in a reasonable size .Actually it takes three deer - the doe and two future fawns.
At one time VT refused to take does and the deer numbers became so high that the whole herd suffered and many of the 'does' were actually poorly developed bucks .That and other problems happen when you exceed the 'carrying capacity' of the land.

TX Hunter
November 20, 2011, 06:47 AM
There is nothing at all unsporting about hunting Does. Try filling Your Doe Permit in a heavily hunted Wildlife Management Area. Those pressured Does are capable of avoiding even the saviest Hunter. :)

November 20, 2011, 08:53 AM
I like getting a nice buck, but I hunt for food too. Here in Kentucky where the deer population is healthy, and large, I see nothing wrong with taking a doe but that's always been the norm here since I've been hunting.

November 20, 2011, 09:12 AM
in Idaho some regions are buck only, others are both. washington is buck only across the board I think, if you take a ride down the ayre shortline you'll see fields with 300+ sized herds that only have one or 2 bucks because the deer are so over populated but the bucks are hunted to the point of genetic deficiency. I like areas that allow both because it allows to control both aspects of population control which is the number one purpose for controlled hunting in the first place. if the doe populations get too high then shooting does still controls the overall population while removing the pinch from the bucks. California still hasn't figured that out apparently.

Double Naught Spy
November 20, 2011, 09:14 AM
What mete said.

Here in Texas, TPWD sent out a press release encouraging hunters to fill their tags quickly this year because of the drought and the resulting lack of mast crop. TPWD noted that many of the animals are apt to be undersized and under nourished. This comes after 2 years of phenomenal mast crops and so the population is up. Our tags include bucks, spikes, and does.

Most of the guys I know will hold off on taking does until late in the season or until they get the buck they want...which sometimes doesn't happen and they end up takng a very late season buck and then a doe.

November 20, 2011, 09:32 AM
I hunt some for the hopes of a trophy and some for food. I would rather kill a doe than a small buck. I leave the small bucks for the kids.

The bag limit in my County is, 2 a day, six a year, and of the 6, no more than 3 may be antlered.

I let a buck with a small 2 point rack on just one side walk last Sat. the last day of BP season. My nephew had already killed a buck that morning, so I didn't need the meat.

Art Eatman
November 20, 2011, 09:45 AM
The emotion against shooting does is a holdover from way back when. Deer were not as numerous before the 1960s as they are now. In Texas, it was not until the eradication of the screw worm fly that the population really started growing.

The usual deal of old traditions hanging in, long after the real-world reason is gone. In some parts of Texas, does oughta be open-season all year long. A few areas, they oughta pay a bounty.

Down here in the desert, the deer population is sparse. No doe season at all. Here, does are the capital; bucks are the interest. You don't spend capital.

Hog Buster
November 20, 2011, 09:46 AM
Here in Louisiana it’s 3 bucks and 3 does, has been for a while. I have no problem killing does. They eat just fine.

The mast crop here was heavy this year and deer are everywhere. The only problem is that most are nocturnal feeders. Plenty at night, few in the daytime. The buck to doe numbers are good. I get as many pictures of bucks as does, plenty of 6 to 8 pointers in the mix too.

It’s still a bit warm here, so I’m hoping that cooler weather will change their feeding habits some. If not, we’re in for a tough year of deer hunting.

November 20, 2011, 09:57 AM
Out of all the deer I have killed more than half were does, easily half, no probably more than half,,,, and you know what? I'm doing my part for conservation.;) and furthermore, they taste great!!!!~;):D;):)

November 20, 2011, 08:41 PM
Having hunted in NV for several decades, the only doe tags I saw were allotted for youth so they had an either sex chance to get their first deer. Tags are drawn from a lotto-type system, and you MAY get a tag. IF you are lucky enough to get a tag, most folks want the horns to go with the meat. You don't get a raffle book full of tags out West

sc outdoorsman
November 20, 2011, 08:51 PM
When I was a kid the old timers at the club we hunted thought killing does was a heinous crime. Several of them refused to do it even though the state gave us around 50 doe tags a year. That was hold over from when there were very few deer and the state was running a relocation program to rebuild the herd.
Now we have either sex days almost every Saturday and you can purchase extra tags from DNR. Even with that they are still worried about the carrying capacity of the land and managing the herd in some areas.
I would think most states would have a biologist working to manage the herd and not leave it to a county council. That makes no sense at all.

November 20, 2011, 10:03 PM
Those guys use every opportunity to inflict their own ideas and prejudices upon the audience. They would like to have the unknowing public believe that w/o their input, the hunters and fisherman of America would exterminate every species in the country.
Everyone who has read any information about game management in any state should know that reducing doe numbers to a specified level is an approved part of game animal population control.
Here in Missouri on my farm, I can get up to 9 deer tags for 3 family members. We can only tag one buck each so the others must fit the anlterless category. We can also buy as many antlerless tags as we want so in theory, there is no limit on the number of does we could remove. I target the older does who usually raise a higher number of fawns as another facet of population control. Over the span of 7-8 hours spread over 4 days on a deer stand this year, I saw conservatively 40 does. Last year I filled 3 doe tags within 15 minutes on the day I chose to do so.

November 21, 2011, 01:36 AM
In Washington the GMU are divided between horns, no horns, and any deer.
Most of the any deer and no horn units are on the West side.

iirc there are more any deer units than there used to be.

Dr. Strangelove
November 21, 2011, 03:49 AM
We can kill ten does a year here in GA. I would rather kill does, tastier meat in my opinion, and you can't eat horns...

But yeah, it is a regional, or even "old school" type of thing.

November 21, 2011, 08:08 AM
Its a regional thing. Here in South Carolina private landowners and lessees can enroll in the Anterless Deer Quota Program. A biologist allots tags based on acreage and # of deer you have. We get 50 antlerless tags a season. If we didnt fill them the farmer would have to write his crops off every year. I watched 11 come out on a picked bean field yesterday evening. I was hunting horns so they got a pass.

November 21, 2011, 08:14 AM
In my area of Idaho buck season started with elk season on Oct. 10. 'Any whitetail deer' runs for the entire month of Nov. I think the F&G here have a pretty good handle on the buck/doe ratio and I have no problem whatsoever with shooting a doe. For eating purposes (the reason I hunt is mainly for food and just getting out in the woods) I prefer does. I have enough horns hanging around already. My wife is getting really sick of dusting them. But she doesn't get tired of good female venison.

November 21, 2011, 09:06 AM
I have no idea of the area they were in or the deer population but that plays a big big role. Most of the U.S. has had a population boom the last few decades and are more than willing to have hunters harvest does. Maybe this area isn't so lucky.

On a side note......... I'm not going to condone any poaching. It's wrong. That being said poaching a doe is heads and tails above poaching big bucks. At least the poacher is filling bellies not wall space. But for lords sake get a tag and do it legal.


November 21, 2011, 09:12 AM
When I started deer hunting in the late 60's Missouri was a "bucks only" season throughout most of the state as Conservation was trying to grow the herd. After nine years of not seeing a buck and once waking from a nap to find 9 nice fat does under 20 yds from me, I put the deer rifle in the safe.

Around 2002 a young man that helped me on the farm and went small game hunting with me convinced me to dust off the centerfire rifle. Missouri's deer herd had grown to over a million animals and Conservation had decided to 'control the population explosion' and even reduce the herd in urban areas. They actually began to offer unlimited antlerless tags in many parts of the state. Since that time, I have taken a doe, a button buck, and a 7pt buck.

When I hunt deer now, "if its brown - its going down" because I love my backstraps, deer burger, and jerky:)

Although I've never managed to take more than 1 deer in a year, many other hunters have really reduced the doe numbers and reduced the herd to the point that it isn't nearly as easy to just find a deer as it was 9 years ago. Conservation has also instituted a "4 pt on 1 side minimum" in order to try and elevate Missouri's "trophy deer" status.

November 21, 2011, 09:28 AM

We have some really good deer biologists on the MDC staff. The OP might want to forward this article to the CA game commission;)

Wild Bill Bucks
November 21, 2011, 10:50 AM
Don't have a problem with shooting does. I do have a problem with the state of Oklahoma choosing what day you can shoot them on. Here the doe days are the first and second Saturday, and the last Sunday of deer season. I'm sure that the state in all it's superior genius has a reason for this, but I fail to see it. If you want to lower the doe population, then raise the bag limit. As long as they are shot during season, then what possible difference does it make, what day they are shot on. I'm pretty sure the deer don't know the difference.
The biggest gripe I have, is putting in a full year of scouting and effort into finding where that one big trophy buck might be opening morning, just to have 20 shots go off at daybreak, from other hunters shooting does. If they took away the doe day, and opened it up to anyday, then it would lessen the shots going off saturday morning. This might let the buck hunter looking for a trophy have the opportunity to get one. This has happened to me at least twice in the last three years, and I'm sure it has happened to many of you guys also.

Just blowing off Monday morning steam. Sorry:)

November 21, 2011, 11:10 AM
It used to be unacceptable to shoot a doe where I hunt in SW Nebraska, when there were fewer deer (1960's/70's) and nearly no whitetails ..... now there are nearly no mule deer and you can't drive the speed limit at night for fear of hitting a whitetail...... hell, I had one run into the side of my car (Kamikaze?) ..........

Now, the Game and Parks encourages the taking of whitetail doe, giving a bonus antlerless whitetail tag on every permit, and antlerless whitetail tags are much less expensive, seasons are longer and permits are easier to get than regular firearm deer permits...... some units have a "Earn a Buck" deal, where you must check in an antlerless whitetail before your buck tag is valid.

It's about management, and there have never been more deer in the state, despite the record harvests every year, so they want to keep a lid on it.

November 21, 2011, 11:36 AM
Depends on the region of the country. When I first started hunting about 40 years ago seeing a decent buck was a rare event and killing a doe was considered very bad.

Today the deer herd is at nusiance levels and the number of hunters is about 1/2 what it was. Our season used ot be about 2 weeks. Now it runs from mid September to mid January. Bag limit, 2 Bucks and 10 does on private property. Anything you take on a Wildlife Management area does not count towards your limit so you could potentially take many more than the 12.

Everyone wants the numbers reduced. While technically a violation, most Game Wardens don't really pursue shooting as many does as possible.

November 21, 2011, 12:29 PM
Hunting in Texas, Doe tags are the first ones I try and fill. Gives me meat and I can chill out and be picky on the 2 bucks. It's good to know you already have meat in tha freezer.

November 21, 2011, 01:14 PM
We only get 12 deer tags in GA.2Bucks 10 d's I would much rather see those doe deer in My freezer than in the grill of My wifes car.Very few hunters have any problems taking doe's here because many that dont shoot them sooner or later get one with the car anyway.Not making fun its a fact.:mad:

November 21, 2011, 04:06 PM
In Washington the GMU are divided between horns, no horns, and any deer.
Most of the any deer and no horn units are on the West side.

iirc there are more any deer units than there used to be

But the season in WA is ridiculously short and the regs are insanely complicated. Most of the Westside GMU's have only a 2 week season for modern firearm. There are special openings sprinkled around all over the place. The late opening is only 4 days long.

The one benefit of this is that I encountered almost no other hunters during the two days I was able to find time to get out in GMU 448 this year (unfortunately I also encountered almost no deer. Skunked). I think a lot of people have given up in this part of the state. Long term this is bad though, if there are no hunters there will be no impediment to further tightening the regulation screws.

Check out the WA regs here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01184/wdfw01184.pdf

November 21, 2011, 05:42 PM
I have been told that the Department of Fish and Game leaves the decision up to the county governments, and they being elected officials certainly don't want to do anything to hurt their chances of getting votes so it's usually a no.

I find it very disturbing that game management decissions are made by politicians.:mad:

Just look at the whole western wolf problem.

Not only are does spared by politicians, sometimes, does are also killed for political reasons.:mad:

Sound game management sholud be non-politicized.


November 21, 2011, 06:49 PM
While most areas in New York have doe permits, the two areas I hunt in, one in Northern Zone and one in Southern Zone have none (wish I could say it was because I was single handily keeping the deer population down but...) . Therefore, when hunting muzzle loader while I can take any sex I will certainly target a buck before a doe. If I am issued a "doe permit" I try to take a doe.

November 21, 2011, 07:20 PM
In my wanderings, I've definintely seen the regional biases on doe harvesting (amongst over things). I personally do not mind taking does. Last I checked, you cannot eat horns.

That being said, I cut my teeth hunting central FL where you could shoot does at will during bow and muzzleloader, but during rifle it was only legal on "doe weekends".

I already shot 2 does this year, as well as my 15 yo taking 2 does as well during a cull hunt on a friend's ranch in Texas.

Where I think we are really missing the boat is in the whole trophy hunting culture. After being in the company of a few of them, it seems if you are not harvesting 140 class minimum bucks, you don't qualify as a "real hunter".

It makes me laugh seeing all the deer skull stickers with monster racks, normally with 2 drop tines. I'd bet most of them folks have never shot a buck that big, let alone see one in real life (outside BPS or Cabelas). ;)

November 23, 2011, 02:46 PM
Cowboy Mo, every state could use a page or two from the MDC!!!!:)

November 23, 2011, 04:09 PM
I mostly shoot doe, because they make up most of the deer that feed during the day. Based on my game camera, I see them at about a 15:1 ratio around here. We have tiny numbers of big bucks, servicing many does. The bigger bucks are completely nocturnal by about the first week of early muzzleloader season. A few spikes and forkhorns show up during daytime hours, but even they're rare. I think over the past 7 years I've seen 2 bucks during the daytime while in the stand. If it weren't for my game camera, I wouldn't know there were any around at all.

November 23, 2011, 06:09 PM
Here in Missouri where the whitetail are plentiful taking does is a common practice,during firearm season which is 12 days one buck with at least four points on one side are legal to fill our any deer tag.We can purchase as many antler-less deer tags at 7.00 a tag (resident) as we wish,we also have a 3 day doe only hunt after our firearm season.

I have been buying deer tags in MO. since 1975 when deer hunting was Bucks only and then in the late 70s depending on which unit or section of our state you hunted you could sign up in the raffle for a "Bonus Tag" which was a doe only tag and the beginning of our doe hunting in the state of Missouri.

November 23, 2011, 11:49 PM
For years we could only shoot bucks around here. Then DNR realized that the buck/doe ratio was way outta whack because of it. Now once you shoot a buck you have to take a doe before you can shoot another buck. I have no probs shooting doe they eat just fine.

November 24, 2011, 12:05 AM
I just re-read this whole thread. Am I understanding correctly? Can you really shoot 10 does and 2 bucks in Georgia? Holy Crap!

November 24, 2011, 12:45 AM
Two doe days during the entire muzzleloader and rifle season where I live. The population is not that great. Where I lease land 246 miles from the house you can take 4 does and buy more doe tags after that. Also it is either sex from the end of October to JAN. 1. I have never taken a doe near the house just because it was always against our beliefs due to the low population. In an area that has a healthy population I have no problem taken some tasty does. The farmer where I lease my land begs me to kill more deer due to his garden being devoured by deer. I think a certain amount of doe population control is needed for a healthy deer heard.

November 24, 2011, 08:57 AM
Moshooter, here's a correction to your reply,,, Missouri's antlerless season runs from Nov. 23 through Dec. 4..:)

November 24, 2011, 09:11 AM
Mmmmm Hooligan I went back and checked the antlerless season you are correct,not to many years ago we had just a weekend after firearm season for a antlerless 3 day hunting weekend then the blackpowder would start up again which also included bucks or does.Looks like we have a much longer antlerless season here in MO.thanks for pointing that out ;)

Art Eatman
November 24, 2011, 10:31 AM
We've kinda gone wandering...

Looks like the summary is that there once were reasons for "bucks only" but in most places that's no longer the case. A lot more deer now than there were a half-century back.

But old notions are slow to change...