Tips & Tactics

Thoughts on Does

Thoughts on Does

By Ken Piper

Everybody wants to shoot a buck, but does are the key to deer management.

Shooting does is a key component of our role as caretakers of deer and the habitat. It’s also the best way to fill a freezer.

As a writer and editor of hunting publications for more than 25 years, I’ve seen quite a few recommendations about the best time and locations for taking does.

Personally, I like to shoot a doe in the morning. I’d rather track, retrieve and process a doe in daylight. It’s easier, and it causes less disturbance to your hunting area.

Regarding location, I agree with the many writers who recommend not taking a doe from a food plot – at least not a food plot from which you hope to shoot a buck. That’s not because you’ll educate bucks not to come onto the plot in daylight, but it is because does will quit coming out while there’s still shooting light. And if the does aren’t already out in a plot, you can bet money no bucks will show themselves.

Archery gear in the timber, in the morning is the ideal scenario for doe shooting. Gun hunters should get their does as early in the season as possible, taking the pressure off and offering the luxury of waiting for a buck that meets their expectations.

Gun hunters in states with relatively short seasons have to decide whether it’s more important to hunt for meat or antlers. Those with access to private land have more leeway. If you’re hunting public land in a state like Pennsylvania (where I grew up), for example, you probably just take the first deer that provides a shot opportunity. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, it’s time we start putting more pride in taking does. Everybody wants to shoot a giant buck, but our true role as stewards of wildlife is to help manage deer numbers, and to participate in the natural circle of renewable sustainable food for our families.

Read Recent Tip of the Week:

Less Than Perfect: Solutions to last-minute hunting problems need not be ideal.

Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd