The best time to take does depends on your goals.
QUESTION: If my goal is to take a doe, when is the best time? Should I fill doe tags early in archery season or later in firearms season? – Daniel B.
ANSWER: It depends, to some extent, on why you want to take that doe. If your objective is largely to fill the freezer, the best time to take a doe is any time you can, and the best doe to shoot is the first one that offers a shot.
That changes if you also have other goals, like herd management. Then, removing any doe reduces the population by one, but removing an adult doe has more impact down the road than removing a younger one.
Taking a doe out early, as in archery season, removes a doe that could later draw in a buck during the rut, but if there are plenty of other deer around, and you probably won’t notice the difference.
I tend to favor early removal. That way, the doe and the buck chasing her don’t expend valuable energy toward reproducing that will never be realized. Knowing you have meat in the freezer also is a confidence builder and takes pressure off the rest of your hunting season. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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