Which does are best to target for removal, young or mature?
You’ve probably read many articles recommending taking big, healthy does to help reduce deer populations. And that’s not bad advice. It’s just not necessarily the best advice in all situations.
Some biologists are taking a new approach to thinning herds and are recommending taking young does instead. Their reasoning is it is better for the habitat to harvest a yearling since it requires more food and nutrients to grow to maturity.
In addition, mature does are valuable because they are more likely to produce healthy twin fawns and are far more likely to breed in the normal rut window – both good things for the herd. The risk in taking young deer is you will likely take some button bucks.
Both schools of thought have their merits, so which is right for you? To answer that question, ask yourself another: What is the bigger concern for your herd: buck/doe ratios or overpopulation/poor nutrition?
If buck/doe ratios are your biggest problem, it might be best for you to preserve all bucks and go with taking only mature, long-faced does. If habitat and reducing numbers are tops on your list, remove the younger deer. Either way, you’re a winner at the dinner table.
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