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Old October 31, 2005, 01:18 PM   #1
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Harvesting Does and Spikes

A couple of questions for you whitetail hunters.

1: Take spikes or not. I've been reading articles for and against and the general conclusion I've drawn is that if it's a big spike shoot 'em and get them out of the gene pool, if it's a little spike let it go and give it a chance to might just be a nutrutional problem or being born late in the season.

2: Take does right before the rut or not. Some of my hunting buddies are of the opinion that you shouldn't shoot does before the rut, some modify that to just not right before the rut....I guess the rationale being bucks will be following does so the more does the better. One friend who's a long time hunter will only shoot does in certain places, places where he hunts big bucks he'll never ever shoot does at all. Opinions?
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Old October 31, 2005, 01:32 PM   #2
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IMO, if you are going to try and manage the herd, take the spikes and does. Most of the guys I hunt with will only shoot at antlers, and have the guts to be surprised that the rack size has gone down in the last 10 years.

For me, I prefer to shoot the does-easier to clean and I am not all that whipped up about a rack. I do take some fine old bucks from time to time, but not the younger ones. The last buck I took was 2 years ago, and he was a fine specimen, and judging from the wear on his teeth and coloring, was just about at the end of his lifecycle. Interesting markings on him-had a perfect silver gray diamond about 12 inches across right in the middle of his back. Never saw one like that before......
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Old October 31, 2005, 02:24 PM   #3
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Davidnancarrow +1. The spikes may or may not grow into big bucks but if you shoot all the big racks you sure wont have any big ones in the future.
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Old October 31, 2005, 05:38 PM   #4
roy reali
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No Choice Here

I wish we had a choice of deer gender here in California. They have a very few, by drawing only, antlerless hunts. Most of them are open to junior hunters only. Each one issues only a dozen or so tags.

Each county in California has its choice to allow doe hunting or not. If one county objects, no other county can have a doe hunt. Unfortunately one our counties is San Francisco. Guess how many open doe hunts we have here in The Golden State?
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Old October 31, 2005, 07:41 PM   #5
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Hmmmm......I'm in Maryland and our limit is 36 (10 does and 2 bucks for each of three weapons......bow, shotgun, and muzzle loader)...except for a few countys....Montgomery, PG, Howard, Baltimore, Anne Arundle....where there is no limit at all on does, it's as many as you can take.....and we're still over run with whitetails, the harvest keeps dropping every year....I took 11 last year, 4 bucks (all 8 pointers, but the best only scored 125) and 7 was getting to where I was craving chicken and fish I have eaten so much....and I gave a lot of the venison to friends.....
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Old October 31, 2005, 08:02 PM   #6
roy reali
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Out Of Whack

We have decent deer populations in some areas. Our buck to doe ratio is totally out of whack. Our game management is run by politicians, not biologists. We do have a large and healthy population of mountain lions and coyotes.

They should open a new category on this forum. It should be for California members. That way we don't become envious of members that can hunt areas that actually have game. We won't feel inferior for not having any real chance of getting a CCW or buying rifles that are black and have large capacity magazines.
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Old October 31, 2005, 08:51 PM   #7
Harley Quinn
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Since the hog hunt, I have decided that is the item

I will hunt from now on. So much excitment and they are plentiful. In CA they are avaliable in huge amount in certain area's and peope want you to take um out.

No more Bambies for me, only the big Boars that will give you a great adventure for your time in the field, and they are tough. A good adversary.

Breed and have more get, than the deer, are troublesome and need to be cleaned out in some areas so people can feel safe in their yard.

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Old November 1, 2005, 08:17 AM   #8
Jack O'Conner
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I've shot many does, cow elk, and young bulls too. Even a few kid antelopes. Nothing wrong with thinning out the animal population legitimately. A barren cow elk is a far better trophy on the table than a stinky rutting herd bull.

I'm not sure about the spike question. Dad always told us to shoot either a big buck or a doe ( we had Any Deer licenses). Dad said to leave the little guys alone to grow up.

California is a political mess when it comes to doe hunts. I used to hunt the long ridge that separates Napa from Sonoma County. Does outnumberd bucks 15 to 1 or so. But I found a way to hunt does legally. You have to approach the vineyard managers and get them to set you up as their Authorized Agent for depredation hunting. You'll have to jump through some hoops but the trouble is worth it. One year I hunted from October - March and shot 9 does! And it was 100% LEGAL.

I'm not certain why all states have not gone to Any Deer licenses. It is a genuine harvest strategy that works! I met a pleasant fellow from Pennsylvania that complained that hunters in his state could hunt doe and buck at the same time. I thought it was a fine plan but he could not see it at all. So it goes.

Good doe hunting to you all. Your trophy is on the dinner plate.
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Old November 1, 2005, 12:16 PM   #9
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To some extent spikers need not be young bucks, if their feeding is poor or they have been injured they dont grow big racks so shooting spikers / poor or malformed heads gets rid of the poor animals, but if you shoot the big guys with good racks you are removing the best genetic supply of young bucks to grow into big trophy bucks. with does I try to shoot the ones with no followers as they have failed to produce for some reason and so may be not as good genetically. when is said spikers in previous post I should have added poor or malformed heads as well.
To take one good trophy is ok if you have a few where you hunt but if you keep taking mostly good ones you are definitely killing your future. On public lands it is more difficult as everybody wants a good trophy so managment goes out the window and before long as our friend has already said there are no good trophys to be had.!!
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Old November 1, 2005, 02:40 PM   #10
Art Eatman
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I don't see what difference before-rut or after-rut has to do with shooting does...

As for spikes, I'll kill a mature buck that only has spikes, but a yearling with his little 3" or so of spike isn't what is the "spike buck problem". He's pretty much normal. Usually the "bad" mature, spike bucks have spikes of *' or 10" or even more, with thick bases. SFAIK, they're genetically bad.

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Old November 2, 2005, 10:50 AM   #11
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The point about shooting does before or after the rut is a tactical one, not a deer management one. If I shoot 3 does in Sep and Oct at a particular stand location, and they have frequented that stand location because that's within their home range then when the rut comes in Nov they are not going to be frequenting that location with horny bucks behind them....or that's the theory anyway.
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Old November 2, 2005, 11:23 AM   #12
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There seems to be a "good ol boy" mentality in Texas that it's just not manly to shoot a doe. I just don't get it. Every year our landowner wants does shot and every year the same dudes shoot a 1 1/2 year old 3 point thinking its a cull buck. Let those young bucks live and shoot a couple of does for crying out loud.
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Old November 2, 2005, 11:45 AM   #13
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Deer are EVERYWHERE in California, it is not that bad. As for the coastal regions, I am not so sure.
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Old November 2, 2005, 02:47 PM   #14
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One thing that is often over looked when culling smaller bucks out of the herd is that 50% of the genetic material for large antlers comes from the does. Unfortunately there has not been any good way to figure out which ones they are. This has been proven with breeding programs using contained deer. There are does that will drop bucks with greater antler size when bred with bucks of only moderately sized racks. This holds true in the other direction as well, some does will only produce spikes and spindly racked bucks, even when bred with the big boys.

The best bet is to kill enough does to keep the buck:doe ratio at the proper level. Keep the population within the carrying capacity of the grounds, and to supplement the forage so good nutrition is maintained. And finally to provide mineral licks. The more healthy the deer are, the more the odds of a large rack.

As to taking does during the rut, no big deal here, but I would spend my time trying to kill a buck, as this is a good time to see more of them. Usually it is a simpler task to get a doe than a buck and anything that helps I will use to my advantage.

Tell your friend, that never kills does where he hunts buck, that he will see more buck activity when they are looking for does to breed. If he allows all the doe to hang out in his hunting area the buck will be with the does in thick breeding cover and not running around in the open trying to find them.
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Old November 2, 2005, 05:17 PM   #15
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i love when people say harvest like it is soybeans. don't you mean kill?
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Old November 2, 2005, 09:34 PM   #16
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Several states have passed laws prohibiting the shooting of spiked deer. My old home state of Vermont has just done the same thing. 70% of the deer kill are yearling or yr and a halfs. Pa has had the law on the books longer and I believe they have to have three points on at least one side but I may be wrong there. Either way, It has been now proven not to increase the size of the racks the deer killed. and they don't seem to be getting any heavier either. I believe the 50% doe genetic rule is correct. good feed and nutrition is the key to big bucks. Look at Ill and kanas as an example.
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