Harvesting does is the cornerstone of every deer management plan, but how do you know the doe you’re about to shoot isn’t a button buck instead?
This can be especially challenging when hunting along greenfields. Button bucks haven’t had time to fully develop their survival skills, making them particularly vulnerable when their mothers push them away in preparation for breeding season. Inexperienced button bucks are often the first deer to enter a greenfield, and they’re often alone, making a size comparison impossible.
While there is no way to tell with absolute certainty, there are several clues that can all but guarantee you’ll be harvesting a doe. First, avoid taking lone deer. Even veteran hunters can’t always judge the size of a solitary deer at distances more than 30 yards. Wait until you see several deer together and can pick out a mature female.
As you gain more experience, you can tell quite a bit by looking at the deer’s face. A mature doe has a long face and snout, while younger deer often have a short, pudgy look to their faces. The more time you take to watch deer together and notice these differences, the more accurate you will be in selecting a doe for harvest.
Finally, take pride in your doe harvest. Sure, we all get excited about big antlers, but every doe you take fills the freezer and makes you a better hunter.
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