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Old 07-05-2012, 11:32 PM
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Default Buck dispersal / Which does to shoot?

I was involved in a seminar/debate last weekend in Indiana with a small group of good ol' boys when the subject of "which does to shoot" came up. The seminar "leader" gave us 2 choices; old producing does or young does not yet with fawns. Opinions varied but I stated that I shoot older does with button bucks fawns because of research that I once read which showed that when the mother doe is still alive early in the spring, she will run off her buck fawns from the previous spring and roughly 90% of the time they will disperse to a new area averaging between 5 and 20 miles away from their birth-site. On the other hand, If a doe is killed and her buck fawns orphaned, roughly 90% of the time those buck fawns will remain within the area of their birth. The conclusion was that by shooting does with button buck fawns, one can encourage those buck fawns to remain close to the area. I am not 100% sure who conducted the study but it was someone with a recognized name within the whitetail community.

In order to start a new worthwhile discussion, I was hoping that someone (maybe BSK) could add some insight or direct us to other related studies. I would also encourage everyone to offer opinions and basis for those opinions on which does they shoot on their property.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:46 PM
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I think it depends on a number of factors, i.e. deer density. We shoot 40 doe per year on 460 acres. We take doe with a bow till 10/20, then back off for bucks till 12/14, then finish the quota. Our doe have twins and sometimes trips so taking ones with nubbie fawns is no problem. Whatever we do we can never retain more then 5-7 big bucks each year and every year we are so excited about all the really big 2.5 yo's we have and they seem to disburse the next year. We do shoot doe fawns as they will die first in a tuff winter and taste really good. Having said all that, I will vote for whatever BSK suggests.

Last edited by popeyoung9 : 07-05-2012 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:58 PM
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Isn't the presumption that a doe runs her buck fawn off with the intent to naturally disperse genetics?

If one were to "manage" by selectively harvesting mature does with the intent of keeping those buck fawns local, would that not be defeating the natural means of interbreeding intervention?
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by stumpgrinder View Post
Isn't the presumption that a doe runs her buck fawn off with the intent to naturally disperse genetics?

If one were to "manage" by selectively harvesting mature does with the intent of keeping those buck fawns local, would that not be defeating the natural means of interbreeding intervention?

Unlike humans, I don't think deer breeding sisters and Moms is an issue.Where is BSK to clear up basic genetic facts.

Last edited by popeyoung9 : 07-06-2012 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:14 AM
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My property has a low deer density so I'm not harvesting but maybe one doe a year even though we can take three.

When I do take a doe I try to take a somewhat younger doe. The older females have proven themselves to be good parents. I need does experienced at getting their fawns to be an adult whether buck or doe fawn.

When I first started hunting this property I had no identifiable doe families. Last season I had 3 distinctive doe families. A major improvement for me.

So I take the younger and leave the older to ensure more fawn survival to increase deer in my area.

Hope my reasoning is correct?
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by popeyoung9 View Post
Unlike humans, I don't think deer breeding sisters and Moms is an issue.Where is BSK to clear up basic genetic facts.

I routinely hunt a military base that is fenced, not completely but enough. There are about 3 basic racks that bucks have from the interbreeding. I would love to slip in some different genetics. My avatar pic was an exception.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by baybayrn View Post
My property has a low deer density so I'm not harvesting but maybe one doe a year even though we can take three.

When I do take a doe I try to take a somewhat younger doe. The older females have proven themselves to be good parents. I need does experienced at getting their fawns to be an adult whether buck or doe fawn.

When I first started hunting this property I had no identifiable doe families. Last season I had 3 distinctive doe families. A major improvement for me.

So I take the younger and leave the older to ensure more fawn survival to increase deer in my area.

Hope my reasoning is correct?

I think that is a good choice where you want to increase deer numbers and especially if wolves or coyote predation on fawns is a big problem.

When deer numbers wre high, I tried to get an old doe who had fawns in the meadow/willows in front of my house and whom I watched run two of her yearling buck fawns off one spring. I never got her, but someone did after a few years.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:43 AM
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Perhaps I can change the bend of thinking or discussion a bit. Sorry, Don but it might be important to you.

Which doe should you shoot if you are in or on the edge of a CWD area? In this case reducing deer numbers should be the first factor in the decision. Would targeting does with button bucks reduce yearling buck movement into your area or would the old doe do a better job of keeping other young bucks out?
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:10 AM
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My gut tells me that the idea of 'shooting momma doe to keep the buttons around' was really just a way to influence people to shoot does who otherwise would not shoot does. It might be true, but not that important. If you have a doe on your property instead of two bucks you likely will get more bucks using your land during the rut when the bucks are cruising looking for the hot doe. On the other hand if you have two bucks and no doe than during the rut you will likely have no deer on your property.

Really IMO it boils down to shoot does if you want to lower the population or keep it where it is.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Higgins View Post
I was involved in a seminar/debate last weekend in Indiana with a small group of good ol' boys when the subject of "which does to shoot" came up. The seminar "leader" gave us 2 choices; old producing does or young does not yet with fawns. Opinions varied but I stated that I shoot older does with button bucks fawns because of research that I once read which showed that when the mother doe is still alive early in the spring, she will run off her buck fawns from the previous spring and roughly 90% of the time they will disperse to a new area averaging between 5 and 20 miles away from their birth-site. On the other hand, If a doe is killed and her buck fawns orphaned, roughly 90% of the time those buck fawns will remain within the area of their birth. The conclusion was that by shooting does with button buck fawns, one can encourage those buck fawns to remain close to the area. I am not 100% sure who conducted the study but it was someone with a recognized name within the whitetail community.

In order to start a new worthwhile discussion, I was hoping that someone (maybe BSK) could add some insight or direct us to other related studies. I would also encourage everyone to offer opinions and basis for those opinions on which does they shoot on their property.

The problem with some whitetailed deer behavior issues is that studies in different geographic locations often find very different results. And to complicate the issue, all of those studies may be accurate for their location. For any species as widely distributed as the whitetailed deer, different behavioral adaptations can develop in different geographic regions to compensate for different environmental influences. The environmental influences of the near desert environment of south TX are going to be very different than for northern boreal forests, and deer in the two regions adapt different behaviors to compensate.

Studies on Yearling Buck Dispersal (YBD) in different geographic regions have found different answers. In the South, it is obvious that mother does chase their male offspring out of their range, forcing these young bucks to leave the area (Marchington's study at UGA). In the South, if button bucks are orphaned, they almost always stay in their birth range. Other studies in different geographic locations, such as Mark Conner's work at Remington Farms on the East Coast, and the big studies done in PA, suggest factors other than mother aggression are at play in influencing YBD. The one aspect of YBD that appears to be somewhat universal is dispersal distances, and those are linked to the habitat. The more open the habitat (the less forest cover) the greater the average distance yearling bucks disperse. In "big wood"' habitat, yearling bucks have the shortest dispersal distance (just a mile or two). In open pasture and/or agricultural areas, average dispersal distances are usually considerable (many miles).
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumpgrinder View Post
Isn't the presumption that a doe runs her buck fawn off with the intent to naturally disperse genetics?

If one were to "manage" by selectively harvesting mature does with the intent of keeping those buck fawns local, would that not be defeating the natural means of interbreeding intervention?

Actual interbreeding problems are not much of an issue with whitetails because of their incredible level of genetic diversity within localized populations.

Within a localized area, having button bucks stay in their birth range does stop the natural process of genetic dispersal "outwards" (emigration), but as long as genetic dispersal "inwards" (immigration) is allowed, new genetics flowing into the population is maintained and the local population remains genetically diverse. Now obviouisly, high-fences will stop immigration of new genetics, and that could end up being a problem in the long run.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Jameson View Post
My gut tells me that the idea of 'shooting momma doe to keep the buttons around' was really just a way to influence people to shoot does who otherwise would not shoot does. It might be true, but not that important. If you have a doe on your property instead of two bucks you likely will get more bucks using your land during the rut when the bucks are cruising looking for the hot doe. On the other hand if you have two bucks and no doe than during the rut you will likely have no deer on your property.

Really IMO it boils down to shoot does if you want to lower the population or keep it where it is.

On the laundary list of "reasons to shoot does," I would place "reducing Yearling Buck Dispersal" very low on the list. Now on a 3,000+ acre club, perhaps a different story. But for the average manager working with a average sized property, not a major consideration. They are going to see an influx of young bucks dispersing into their property no matter what they do.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:00 AM
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I use to think the same thing but if I'm not mistaken it has been proven that this philosophy does not actually work the way we invision it should. Its not possible to stockpile bucks in this manner. I could be wrong but buck dispersal creates sort of an average across the landscape of all that year's yearling buck crop. The better habitat would be more likely "catch" more bucks as they disperse. If you had not shot that doe and her buck would have dispersed then he would have just been replaced by another dispersing buck and so on. In the end it all basically evens out depending on the habitat distribution. I think you would "stockpile" more bucks with habitat management than through specific doe harvest.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:06 AM
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I'd agree with BSK that many of the studies regarding YBD come up with different conclusions. I do remember one study, I think it was Chris Rosenberry's work done on the Chesapeake Farms QDM property, that showed that non-dispersing orphans had a much lower natural mortality rate than dispersing yearling bucks did. I believe the conclusion of that study did not find maternal influence to be a significant driver for YBD but instead emphasized the role of a robust buck hierarchy but I'm going from memory and don't have time to look at the study right now, so that could be wrong.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:07 AM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that a does body size doesn't always correlate to age. There's a group in central MI that has been aging and weighing many does each year for close to a decade now. Their data shows that age and size often don't corrolate as some hunters believe.

Furthermore, they've found that the vast majority of their adult does have field dressed weights between 105-125 pounds. This is a small enough size difference that, even if there were a tight correlation between size and age, such small differences in size would not permit most hunters to make accurate distinctions.

Point being, while it sounds good in theory, the concept of targeting adult does by age is not going to be an effective strategy for most hunters.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:32 AM
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I understand fully the need to shoot does. However I focus more on HOW to shoot does than Which doe. I am only on 73 acres. So any pressure is significant. I try to only shoot does on AM hunts, so I dont have to track at night with lights. I feel this is ALOT more pressure than tracking during daylight. I take my tractor to the location also, to add a bit of "normal" human pressure. Also, I try to shoot lone does....no witnesses that way!

So, a lone doe on an AM hunt is a gonner!

I dont shoot fawns, too hard on me and I dont what to shoot a buck fawn by accident.

Also, Don, I just read your artical in QW......Very good!...now I just gotta find a way.

Last edited by BigBuck : 07-06-2012 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:35 AM
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I shoot some old and some young does off my farm. What I like about old does is they are survivors, they pass on those learned traits to their offspring. Such as winter surivival/predator survival and heat advisory survival ...so I would not want to shoot only old does off the property.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:12 PM
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My Doe selection usually revolves around which one is standing broadside & closer.... Although in the later part of December when I'm doe hunting, a lot of times I'll see one bigger doe with 4-5 fawns & yearling's running with her, I'll pass her and try to find a smaller doe in the group and harvest her for the fact that I feel the younger one's will have a better chance of winter survival with the older doe leading the pack. Even though she'll eat more & more often..... Once again, I have confused myself.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:14 PM
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Seem's like I read a decent article about doe selection harvesting from Charlie Alsheimer.....about varying your age structure that you harvest....that you don't simply want to shoot all of the older bigger doe's.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:25 PM
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Since does do not come equipped with drag handles on their heads, and dragging a deer out of the marsh is already enough of a chore as it is, my doe selection criteria is based on one thing only. When a doe gets close enough to a slough so that I can just pull right up to her in my mudboat and roll her in, she gets popped.
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