Ask The Biologist

All in the Family

All in the Family

By Bob Humphrey

Don’t be surprised to see several generations of does together.

QUESTION: Last fall while hunting over my food plot, I saw what I believe were the same does almost every night. There was obviously a big doe with three fawns, but there was also another doe that was smaller than the big one but bigger than the fawns. Could these deer be related?

ANSWER: I’d say there’s a very good chance. Does tend to be more social than bucks, particularly with their own relatives. Also unlike bucks, does are less likely to disperse and more likely to establish a home range adjacent to or even overlapping that of their mother’s.

While they will separate during the spring and early summer, does eventually reunite, often into extended family groups. It’s not at all uncommon to see an older doe and potentially several generations of her offspring and their offspring together.

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Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd