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Old September 3, 2018, 12:54 PM   #1
johnm1
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Honored but concerned

I am not sure if I should be more honored or concerned. A Little background. I’m a very poor dove Hunter so I hunt areas that don’t have a lot of hunters. Which also means there aren’t a lot of dove. It is my way of saving ammunition. But I like to get out. So I hunt some state trust land here in Arizona. It has been overgrazed for 100 years and I have no idea how it supports any wildlife at all. I have been surprised in this area to scare up two Deer previously. The area is sparsely populated with mostly shrubbery. The natural grasses were gone nearly a century ago. I think it is somewhat of a crime that the state has missed managed the land but that’s another story.

We had a storm last night and there was hardly a dove to be seen flying anywhere this morning. Throughout the morning I had heard foot falls less than a hundred yards to my South. As I walked to a new area the foot falls were not very far away. They were definitely of a larger animal. Possibly a badger or one of the large jack rabbits that inhabit this area. I decided to sit in the shade of a nearby shrub and see if I could wait what ever it was out. I took the time to unfold my stool and make myself comfortable. I sat for four or five minutes before I noticed something at my feet. Lo and behold it turns out it was a newborn fawn. I couldn’t resist and took the opportunity to take a few photographs. And backed out of the area 60 or 70 yards to take a short video. I then moved out of the area completely. But the overall time I was exposed to the newborn fawn was probably 6 to 7 minutes. Consider for over five of those minutes I did not know it was there. I then moved out of the area completely. The foot falls I heard had to be of the mother deer. I never saw her though I suspect she was less than 30 yards from where I was. I could hear every footstep she made from a good distance away. So I’m certain she didn’t run off. Plus the landscape is very low. And I would have been able to see her move if she were moving away.

Consider this is September 3rd. The video I took from 70 yards clearly shows that the fawn was just a few days old. It had difficulty walking. My real concern is that my presence might cause the mother to abandon her fawn.

When I initially noticed something at my feet I could see an ear. I assumed it was one of the Jack rabbits that inhabit the area.

I have had difficulties in the past posting pictures to any forum. So bear with me I don’t get this right on the first try.

We had a storm last night and I only saw one dove the entire morning. As long as I didn’t endanger the fawn I considere the morning a great success.

I am interested in the answer to two questions.

Did I in endanger the fawn just by me being there.

How in the world can a fawn be born 1 September? Consider the rut in far south Arizona often occurs in December and sometimes as late as January. But, this was just east of Phoenix.

Your opinions are welcome.
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Old September 3, 2018, 01:14 PM   #2
Roamin_Wade
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You didn't cause the mother to abandon the baby. I think birds may do that but I don't think deer do.
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Old September 3, 2018, 01:16 PM   #3
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"...poor dove hunter..." It's not you. Mourning doves require radar guided shotguns. snicker.
"...just by me being there..." Not likely. As long as you didn't touch him according to the wildlife types. Leaves your scent on him that Bambi's mom(even though it looks like a Muley) doesn't like. She leaves him alone like that regularly while she goes to eat. Don't think that one's as new as you think either.
"...September 3rd..." Isn't the same everywhere. Your temperatures rarely get lower than 14ish C(57F) in January. (Been envious about that for eons. Been thinking AZ would be a good place for me. snicker.) That's late Spring here.
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Old September 3, 2018, 01:36 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you. I never did touch It. Though I’m certain I could’ve picked it up and it would not have fussed. It just didn’t seem to really care that I was there.

I have a 9 second video. In it you can see The fawn could barely walk. I suspect it was just a few days old based on how it was walking. I do not have a third-party hosting site to post a video. If someone would be willing to except it in an email or p.m. I would be happy to send it so that the video could be posted.


T O’Heir - Arizona is a great place to retire. If you miss the snow it is only 2 1/2 hours north of phoenix. Less from Prescott. Prescott gets snow but it doesn’t last but a couple of days. That is where I’d retire I think.
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Old September 3, 2018, 01:44 PM   #5
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It is amazing how well this fawn blended into the landscape. Here is a picture of what I saw sitting on my stool. He was less than 2 feet from the toes of my boots in this photograph. And I had no idea he was there.
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Old September 3, 2018, 02:10 PM   #6
big al hunter
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It is possible that the fawn is only a few days old. Judging by the pictures I would say not more than a week or two. Fawns start following momma as soon as they can keep up. As long as you didn't touch it, momma will still love it. Cute little bugger, thanks for posting.

Does will continue to go into estrus until they are pregnant. If this doe didn't get pregnant during the initial rut she may have been bred and conceived much later than other deer in the area . I see several sets of fawns every spring here. Usually show up a few weeks apart for a couple of months. Most are born May- June sometimes I see new ones as late as July. Saw one with spots in October last year.
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Old September 3, 2018, 02:50 PM   #7
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EDITED TO REMOVE THE LINK. IT DIDN’T WORK.

I'm not sure this will work, or if the company will be happy I'm using the company FTP site, but here is a link to the video. As a private folder I don't have control over the permissions. But I e-mailed it to myself and it didn't show a password required. I can't tell if it will require a password while I'm using my work computer. Worth a try
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Old September 3, 2018, 04:17 PM   #8
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The link takes me to your company site. It only allows access to folks with company permission.
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Old September 3, 2018, 04:42 PM   #9
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Thanks big Al I’ll remove the link.
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Old September 4, 2018, 08:17 AM   #10
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnm1 View Post
It has been overgrazed for 100 years and I have no idea how it supports any wildlife at all. I have been surprised in this area to scare up two Deer previously. The area is sparsely populated with mostly shrubbery. The natural grasses were gone nearly a century ago.
Deer are browsers.....not grazers. The shrubbery, depending on what it is, can support deer on it's own. The land may not be mismanaged at all, at least for deer. The fawn being born late, does have a lower rate of survival, but has a much better chance of surviving in Arizona being born late than here in Wisconsin. Does will continue to come into heat every 28 days or so if they are not bred in their first estrus cycle. Seems your fawn was created during the does third or fourth cycle of the year. The lack of smaller game in the area may mean a lower density of predators too. Thus helping the little guy/gal a bit. Areas like what you describe are very common on public land, very little monies to do habitat. Many state wildlife policies are to leave that land as natural as possible with little or no interference and no planting of non-native species or ag crops. What we can do as hunters is to supplement food sources with minerals/food or even to add fertilizer so what natural food is there is healthier. I suggest checking your state and local laws to see what is legal and to not supplement feed during the hunting season. If there are deer there and breeding, there is a food source and cover.
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Old September 4, 2018, 02:29 PM   #11
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Thanks Buck

My comment about the mis-management was a general comment on the state of the land and not necessarily related to management for deer populations or anything else. This state trust land is bordered by BLM land and the separation is a simple barbed wire fence. One can see the difference in land management at the fence line. The two properties are distinctly different from one side of the fence to the other. Dirt and rocks in between the creosote bushes on one side compared to at least some grasses on the BLM side. Though I’m pretty certain that any grasses we see are not what was there 200 years ago.

I’m not a cattle man but I suspect that the BLM land can support way more head of cattle per acre than the adjacent trust land. (Might actually be acres per head here in the desert. The trust land is a resource for education funding and I don’t really expect the state to manage it for wildlife. That would be nice but not necessarily in their charter. I’m ok leasing to cattle ranchers to produce some income until the property is sold. It just seems short sighted to not manage the property better. I would pay more for a lease on the adjacent BLM land. It isn’t all over grazing either. This particular property allows for ATV recreation. It is supposed to be limited to established trails but isn’t enforced.

Sorry rant off.

I went out and hunted dove last evening. 10 birds shot at. No birds in the bag. I really suck. But I have to say it was a good day hunting.
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Old September 4, 2018, 05:57 PM   #12
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If you ever decide to raise a tiny baby fawn, use a baby bottle with Carnation condensed milk cut to 3 water to 1 milk. Wipe its little bottom with a warm damp sponge to fire up the nursing instinct.

A video on land management:

https://youtu.be/vpTHi7O66pI

Fits in with my own experience and from numerous articles on the subject.
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Old September 4, 2018, 06:55 PM   #13
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Good for you not touching or disturbing that fawn. {I'm sure its Mom has a pretty good idea where she left her defenseless offspring.}
As for dove hunting? I don't keep fish smaller than my hand. A breast of dove the size of a chicken gizzard? Honestly I rather hear their morning & evening cooing than eating em.
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Old September 4, 2018, 07:49 PM   #14
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Just because you don't see the mother doesn't mean the fawn is abandoned. Mother deer leave their newborn fawns hidden to go feed. That is very normal.
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Old September 4, 2018, 08:02 PM   #15
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I usually gave all mine away after prepping them. At one time last year, I had 42 white wings on the ground all at once in about a 5 ft area. That could have gotten me some jail time.
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Old September 5, 2018, 07:56 AM   #16
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sure Shot Mc Gee View Post
As for dove hunting? I don't keep fish smaller than my hand. A breast of dove the size of a chicken gizzard? Honestly I rather hear their morning & evening cooing than eating em.
I personally don't keep any fish, unless it has been hooked deep and I doubt it will survive. I don't fish for subsistence, I fish for the joy of fishing. Mostly how it is for me when it comes to hunting. While I eat everything I kill, I don't hunt to eat. Folks say the same thing about Woodcock. Too small, tastes to strong to eat, etc, etc. These folks probably have not have the chance to hunt Timberdoodles during the flight with a good pointer. Some of the fastest and challenging upland shooting there is, especially with a good dog. I don't hunt doves, but have always figured it was the same. When the birds are there, it can be fast and furious, as well as very challenging. IOWs, fun to hunt.
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Old September 5, 2018, 06:59 PM   #17
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Art - That was an interesting video/article. The ranch I hunt in and about in far southeast Arizona is on BLM land. Over the years I have become friends with the rancher and have learned that the BLM has rules about how long a herd can remain in any given pasture. I'm pretty sure you can lose your lease if you don't follow the rules. I'm pretty sure those rules don't exist on the state trust land. Again, I'm not a rancher. Not even close.

I'm having difficulty putting my head around the premise that the natural way was for large moving herds being the natural state. It appears that large moving herds can be the answer, but I wonder how much of the land was covered by those large/moving herds and for how long. I need to do some research on my own to better understand the history.

The rancher in SE Arizona spoke to me once about returning some of his pastures back to native grasses. Apparently what we have now is what you get after grazing they way we have for as long as we have. More creosote bushes and less grassy/small shrubs in between with more bare ground in between. I understand that creosote is natural for the area, but not in the 'density' that exists today. Returning the land to natural grasses is a significant investment on the ranchers part if you want the governments help. The rancher would have to keep all cattle off of the pasture for at least a year and I think probably two years. All the while still paying rent on the leased land. I wonder what the return would be though. I wonder if the BLM would be on board for the same tests that were in the video? There would be a lot of risk though. SE Arizona has been in a drought for so long and any given year could require feed to supplement the herd. And that just about kills the profit for that year.
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Old September 5, 2018, 07:09 PM   #18
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I'm surprised nobody picked up on my way of 'saving ammunition'. My wife accuses me of raising the level of the desert by spreading lead pellets all about. And she has a point. That is about all I accomplish other than being outside 'in it'.

I'm a small person at 5'-7" and for some reason the typical Remington 870 stock configuration just doesn't fit me well. After shouldering any one of my pump shotguns I have to move my head a lot to be looking over the barrel. Last year I bought a Savage Fox Model B because the drop put my eyes closer to where they should be hoping the better fit would improve my success. No such luck. I still suck. BUT..... I now suck with a bit more OG Swagger. At least I look good while I miss the birds.


OG Swagger = Old Guy Swagger. Just call me Elmer and I'll continue to raise the level of the desert one shot shell at a time.
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Old September 6, 2018, 11:28 AM   #19
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A friend who worked for a while at Ted Turner's New Mexico ranch told me that they have instituted a sort of migratory herding pattern for the cattle: Very long and narrow strip pastures. The cattle feed from one end to the other, and then are moved to the next strip.

They are also blocking gullies and doing restoration of native grasses.

Range Magazine has had numerous articles--with photos--about properly stocked vs. unstocked ranch lands. See at www.rangemagazine.com

Overgrazing? Follow I-10 from around Ozona, Texas, to western Arizona to see an unending example. There's a diorama at the Sonoran Desert Museum near Tucson which shows the progression of plant life with cattle, onward from the 1880s. Terrible.

The fit of the butt of a shotgun is all-important for accuracy. I'd at least find a stock maker and discuss having a butt stock made to fit.
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Old September 6, 2018, 12:13 PM   #20
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"...where I’d retire..." I would too except for the whole poverty issue. snicker.
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Old September 6, 2018, 02:30 PM   #21
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T O’Heir - Prescott is not known for being cheap. But it has 4 seasons and is just beautiful.

I need to go down to the hunt area this weekend. Let me see what the rancher says. He keeps up on all of the latest land management stuff. I’m working in the Tucson area and have pretty easy access to the Sonoran Deserrt Museam. I’ll make a point to look.

I’m beginning to think it is more than fit. I pretty much do stupid things when I see birds. It doesn’t help that I had to switch back to my right eye/right hand after a minor stoke. I’m right handed, left eye dominant but the left eye is nearly useless. It was hard enough learning to shoot a shot gun left handed. But that isn’t an option anymore with only a little over 60% vision in my left eye. And that is real blurry beyon a foot or so.
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Old September 6, 2018, 06:57 PM   #22
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Beautiful drive from Prescott to Jerome.
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Old September 7, 2018, 05:27 PM   #23
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Yes it is Art. I have made that drive several times.

There are a lot of beautiful drives in Arizona and I have made a lot of them. It is odd that I who grew up on Long Island, find the desert so beautiful. I must admit, it was an acquired taste. You do have to look longer and harder to find things of interest. But other times the grand scale of things is just apparent. Hidden just behind the vast creosote flats.

Until my hips started getting real bad, I'd hunt on the move all day long. I always thought that the desert I hunted just wasn't good for taking big game. But I loved it so much I kept coming back. These last two years, hobbled by both hips wearing out I have managed to harvest on of each of the four big game species in Arizona. Deer, Elk, Turkey, and Javelina but not including speed goat and sheep.

Lesson learned: stay still even in the desert and the deer are rarely up high. Look for the blandest, flattest, featureless landscape and you will find them there.
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