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New Thoughts on Taking Does

Whitetail DeerYou've probably read dozens of articles recommending harvesting big, healthy does to help reduce deer populations. Other articles talk about how to tell mature does from yearlings to help hunters cull only mature does. But some biologists are taking a new approach to thinning herds and are recommending taking the very youngest deer instead.

Their reasoning is that it is much better for the habitat to harvest a yearling because it requires more food and nutrients to grow to maturity. And mature does are valuable because they are much more likely to produce healthy twin fawns and almost always breed in the normal rut window - both good things for the health of the herd.

The risk in taking young deer, of course, is that you will inevitably take some button bucks. Both schools of thought have their merits, so which is right for you?

Check Out Our Video TipsTo 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 big problem, it might be best for you to preserve all bucks and go with taking only mature, long-faced does. If habitat and numbers are tops on your list, remove the younger deer. Either way, you're a winner at the dinner table.