Deer Management Includes The Taking Of Antlerless Deer


Hunters have learned that they do not always have to take a buck.  Shooting of does is an idea whose time has come.  Hunters seek bucks because they are the potential trophy animals.  Some hunters feel they were leaving the does for future increases in the breeding population of the herd.  Biology resulted in an abundance of does to the detriment of the resource.

 Deer diseases spread faster in herds that are over populated and those under stress from the depletion of the habitat due to over grazing.

 Since 1991,Illinoishas offered antlerless permits to firearms hunters.  Bowhunters had the same option for many years prior.

 Without the taking of does, deer populations can theoretically double every second year.  A doe with a life span of eight years can potentially produce 15 offspring in that time.  Many does live longer.  If all of those young live to the same age and produce a like number of offspring, as many as 150 deer could result.

 TheIllinoisdeer herd is a tribute to modern game management.  It is an expanding population that is in excellent health.  But, this situation cannot continue unchecked.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to take a big buck.  It is just that doe hunting for meat has had a bad reputation.

 Some hunters feel they should apologize for taking a doe, as if they did not have enough skill to take a buck.  Any deer taken is a trophy.  It is an accomplishment matching hunting skills against the smartest animal in the woods, and winning.

 The taking of antlerless deer ultimately leads to better quality of the overall herd and to bigger bucks down the line.  The ideal stable population would be a mix of one to one buck to doe.  For trophy management, the ratio should be more skewed toward 60 percent bucks and 40 percent does.  For recreational and meat hunters, the ratio could be skewed toward a surplus of does.  In that way, there would be a large breeding population to make up for those taken in the yearly harvest.

 In the management of a deer herd, three objectives should be kept in mind: providing a healthy deer herd, offering quality recreational hunting, and preventing agricultural crop damage. Illinoishas seemingly added the avoidance of deer/vehicle accidents.

 If does are not harvested, then the pressure on the buck population results in a crop of younger biologically inferior animals.  Hunters then shoot the first buck to come along.  Soon fewer bucks to grow trophy size.  The genetically superior animals are soon depleted in the herd.

 The idea of hunting as a management tool is to prevent chronic overpopulation. The continuing increase in the doe population in a genetically inferior herd can over populate to the point that the herd is damaged and severe crop damage becomes the rule.

 If a herd has reached the carrying capacity of a given area, it is possible for it to still increase 35 to 40 percent.  That increase makes it necessary to harvest a large number of does to keep the population in check.

 In all probability, most deer hunters would rather take home a big buck than a doe.  But, realistically, the chances of getting a record book buck are slim.  If one has to have a big buck, in order to feel his hunt was a success, then perhaps he needs to reevaluate why he is hunting in the first place.

 Most deer hunters know what deer hunting is about.  It is about being in the outdoors, having an enjoyable time with friends or on your own.  It is taking a trophy that you regard as a trophy not what some record book committee says is trophy class.

 Any deer taken is a trophy whether it has protrusions on its head or not.

 Deer hunting is a game management tool as well as outdoor recreation.  Hunting does benefits the herd and it is a step toward hunter involvement in the wildlife management. 

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