3.5 Things to Do When You Kill a Doe

Shooting does, we understand the importance for herd management, the fantastic eating and confidence boosters.  We also understand what they mean to big bucks.  But are we really taking full advantage of does once we wrap our tag around their ear?

Here are 3.5 key things to remember when you shoot a doe.

Whitetail Doe Harvest1)     Recently, I took my first deer of the season.  She was the last doe in a line of three and thankfully, a summer’s worth of practicing paid off at 7:45 in the morning.  But as I sat and reflected on the quick encounter, a few things hit me.  The group did not travel down the well worn game trail to my left.  They swung right, behind my tree forcing me to wait until they passed far enough for me to stand and turn.  I also noticed a large branch I had cut earlier in the year to clear a shooting lane was blocking my ten yard shot.  In the end I had to make a 20 yard quartering away shot count.  When you are reflecting on your hunt later in the day, or a few days later with friends, ask yourself these questions. Where did she come from? Why did she come from that particular location?  How did she approach the stand?  When did she come in?  This might seem like a bit of overkill when thinking about your doe kill.  But answer these questions and it can help you prepare and make any adjustments for later when you sit for a buck.  When I sat and answered these questions I realized I need to A) move that branch, B) keep an eye on my six early in the morning as the deer are leaving the fields, C) Although my wind was blowing in their face, the south west wind in this particular location also brought the over powering odor from the nearby commercial egg farm to cover my scent.  With this realization, it also opens up another spot I can hunt with specific winds.   All this information I have logged away in my mind to put into play as the season progresses.  Don’t lose this important information.

2)     Ok, swabbing out the mouth of a deer might seem semi morbid.  But remember, deer communicate through the saliva left on licking branches.  Cotton balls, no secret are absorbent.  Capture the saliva from your fresh kill and store in plastic bags to later hang over scrapes.  Adding fresh saliva over a scrape, especially on properties the deer was not from, can drive bucks crazy as they try to figure out who the new gal in the area is.

3)     Smelling like a deer never hurt anyone.  Ok maybe your family won’t appreciate it but oh well, you can show after the hunt too.  A popular method has always been to hang fresh tarsal glands near your stand.  Another is to store the fresh tarsal in a closed container with your clothing.  I like keeping my fresh tarsal in closed spaces to make the scent last longer. 

3.5)   Some people act like shooting a doe make you less of a hunter. This is old school thinking, as harvesting does is very important to the overall deer herd and it will help in harvesting the big buck during the rut. Be thankful for the chance to sit in the woods and for fresh venison.

Enjoy the time you have in the woods and savor success as you take your doe home.  But also remember to take lessons and information from the woods to make you a better hunter later.

Jason Reid

Last Updated: October 22nd, 2014

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