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Deer Hunting: How Many Does to Shoot?

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Deer Hunting: How Many Does to Shoot?

At about this time every year I start reminding hunters to count fawns. And every year they ignore me. And then they wonder why their deer numbers are steadily declining on the properties they hunt.

So what does counting fawns have to do with steadily declining deer numbers? Believe it or not, in spite of what has been drilled into us over the past 30 years, it is possible to shoot too many does. This is especially true if your resident population is down to the point where an unusually hard winter, or outbreak of coyotes, or a habitat change, has the herd teetering on a population crash.

Deer management is best carried out on a site-specific basis. Deer need to be micro managed to the point where you know exactly how many does should be harvested (or not harvested) in a given location. That location may be 20 acres, or 200, or even 2,000.

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