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Killing Spotted Fawns

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by Joey Arender, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    or killing Does with fawns in tow. I have always felt its a ethics thing to not do either. Our deer season (bow) just opened this past weekend and I have heard of two spotted fawns being shot. One button buck and one doe. I saw bloody photos posted on a deer forum of the doe fawn, showing spots in reference to a dime. I know how it makes me feel. I'm just curious as to the thoughts of what other taxidermist have. Don't get me wrong, I have killed plenty does with yearlings in tow, but I am talking spots. I just choose to wait. I have even mistaken yearlings for mature does, before making myself get educated. I just can't see where spotted deer fits into hunting. Right or wrong?
  2. Don Z

    Don Z Taxidermist,bowhunter, trapper,family man.

    I agree, I would not shoot anything with spots & if I wanted one to mount I'd get it from someone who raised them and had one that died. Why would anyone want to waste a tag on 20 lb of meat??? Not to mention that I would feel bad.

  3. Nina Lukaszewicz

    Nina Lukaszewicz Outdoor Dreams Taxidermy

    Whenever I try to shoot a doe, I always end up with a button buck. Never had a spotted one before, but I know they were the fawns from that year and I felt bad. I've know there's ways to tell whether it's a mature doe or a young deer, but when I'm getting ready to shoot an animal, my whole focus is on my aim and it's really hard to tell because I doin't want to pass up a good shot. lol
  4. Leslie

    Leslie New Member

    We process deer, and we do get spotted fawns occasionally. There are times when I feel that it is okay. For example, Parris Island, where they train Marines, shot every deer they saw for four years running. They had too many deer. The deer were painfully thin, not just no fat, very little muscle also. They had to thin the herd. This is not unusual here because we have so many deer.
    A couple of times a year, a hunter will bring in a spotted or very small deer they shot by mistake for various reasons. While I don't care to see the tiny deer shot, I would prefer to have the hunter bring it in and have it processed than leave it for the buzzards. Yes, I know the buzzards have to eat too, but they can eat road kill. The hunter who pays to have such a deer processed is fining himself for his mistake.
    People make mistakes. To kill a spotted fawn on purpose, without a legitimate reason, is wrong to me. Of course, its no different from veal. Every body has a line.
  5. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Those spots make it easier to AIM!!!! I've shot one or two that still had a couple visible spots. But, if I didn't have unlimited tags I probably would have held out for a bigger doe. Our 6 month-ish old fawns here in Illinois and Southwestern Wisconsin typically field dress out at between 65 and 75 pounds. Certainly not a ton of meat, but a decent amount. And, you will not taste anything better!!! Yeah, you feel a little guilty. But, with our deer numbers you're only helping matters by harvesting as many does as possible...
  6. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    I saw on TV Mr. wonderful Ted Nugent, yea I know, you love him or hate him. He did make a good point that food is food, and thinning the deer population is not just shooting adult deer. And when managing the deer population, there are way to many does that need to be culled out and it doesn't matter if they are old does or spotted young ones. I would love to mount a little spotted deer myself. We protect our children as they are Innocent, yet in the animal world, fawns can get by without adult supervision, and doe's can always have more fawns.
    A high fence rancher was ridiculed for shooting the big bucks he raises, by a hunter that said that the rancher should try hunting in the real world where bucks are few and does out number bucks forty to one. The rancher made the point that his deer population was in the real world with a one to one ratio of buck to does, as that is how fawns are born, normally one buck and one fawn from twins. The publics herd is out of balance and should have does culled out. The way to do that is to shoot the doe's, and it doesn't matter if they have gray hairs or spots.
    I let the little ones walk and have always looked down on anyone that shot a small deer. I am of the opinion of no shooting the women and children. But now I am leaning the other way as they are just animals, food. And they taste the same. I am a hunter and love hunting, I always hold out for a rack, but eventually take a doe after not seeing any racks.
  7. Western Rivers

    Western Rivers Wolves are Idaho's #1 Poacher!

    The worst thing about shooting a fawn is there is not enough meat! But what there is is mmmm good!
  8. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    I guess I was just brought up all wrong then.
  9. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    Up here in northern Minnesota, we can(and have) lost a lot of deer in winters with heavy snow accumulations. It only makes sense to take fawns rather than the larger breeding does. Consider it this way; if you take the doe and we have a good winter,next fall there are two yearlings left. If you take a fawn or even both fawns, next fall there will be a doe and another two fawns left. If you take the doe and the winter is harsh, the two fawns will not likely survive, leaving zero deer next fall OR if they do survive there will two yearlings. You can do the math and figure out the different possibilities for the population.

    From the management stand point it all depends on the state of your deer population. To increase the population, and insure survivability in a poor winter, the taking of fawns is not a bad thing. On the other hand, to maintain or decrease the overall population(for whatever reason) then leaving the fawns and taking the doe is the way to go.

    From the taxidermist's standpoint, I will never criticize the taking of does or fawns over taking the yearling buck(the most heavily harvested segment of the population). I'd like the management to incourage leaving that part of the populations, so that they can GROW UP!

    Our archery season is on now, but our firearms season will run for two weeks in early to mid November. By then the fawns will not be spotted, unless they're very late fawns. And they will weigh between 70-90 pounds dressed. I even heard about a big buck contest last year that had a cash prize for the "smallest fawn"! I look at that this way, #1 it may protect a yearling buck from being harvested or #2 in a moderately harsh winter it encourages taking the animal that is least likely to survive the winter.

    In this part of the country I'd never be critical of a hunter taking a fawn, given our deer herd population. AND you can't get any better venison for eating.
  10. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Joey - can't recall, are you from Wisconsin by any chance? After hunting in Illinois for many years I've noticed that there's a little bit of chest beating mentality going on up north with some folks in regards to harvesting only bucks. I think a lot of old timers frown upon it too because they don't fully understand the management techniques. And this is passed on down to the younger hunters. 10 years ago, anybody that harvested a doe in my buddy's hunting party up in Northern Wisconsin would catch grief from all the others in the hunting party. Most have come around in their thinking, but some still hold their traditions in high regard. I realize that harvesting adult does and fawns are two different things going on here. But I was just curious as to your location.
  11. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    I still don't quite get it. I see what you are saying OF, but by shooting spotted fawns, how many yearling bucks are killed. Down here in TN we really don't have harsh enough winters to do any damage. We do have an over population in some areas like most places I guess. I still can't see shooting spotted fawns. Maybe because where I am from it is or was illegal.

    To me, saying they are good on a biscut is like saying once a spike always a spike.

    TN, Marty
  12. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    There goes that theory then - lol!

    I think the thing is what O.F. mentioned. And that is it all depends on where you're from and how healthy the herd is. In fact, west of Madison in the CWD eradication zone they have unlimited tags. The funny thing is, the overall numbers INCREASED last year regardless of the liberal seasons!!! For me, I can usually tell if it's a button buck or doe because I'm close enough and/or have enough time to do my best to tell before the shot. But where we're at because of the earn a buck deal the last few years there are now more bucks than does in our area. I had to pass on two huge bucks in years past because I couldn't buy a doe or antlerless deer. Most states in the midwest here have increased their number of tags significantly in recent years. And we still can't even dent the population. It keeps growing. Regardless though I don't think it matters most everywhere if an occasional button buck gets harvested. It's sorta like the C&R argument on fish. Musky fishermen in particular whine when somebody harvests a trophy. Yet, the overall numbers of musky trophy's don't change because that one fish was harvested! Deer are just too numerous in many states for us to have much of an impact on their numbers. Of course every place is different and the DNR will set the regs accordingly to whatever buck to doe ratios your hunting area has...
  13. Brian W

    Brian W Active Member

    Joey, I have to agree with you concerning killing spotted fawns or any fawns for that matter. I understand from a conservation standpoint we as hunters HAVE to shoot does to manage the herd and better the buck to doe ratio. I don't shoot fawns for two reasons: one, is the obvious wanting more than a couple steak dinners and two, I don't see any challenge in shooting them. I am strictly a bowhunter for over 20 years and have shot my share of does but also have quite a few record bucks. I know mistakes can be made in judgement taking in consideration distance and amount of daylight but it's less likely to happen when your shots are 25 yards or less. If a mature doe with fawns is shot at this time of year, the fawns have a good chance for survival. Mature does are not the only ones that get bred either. Yearlings get their fair share of attention from the unbridled passion of bucks. I don't condone shooting fawns but I don't condemn others that do. It's their license. I do feel if a mistake IS made and the doe turns out to be a buck, that he/she has to use their buck tag. Our Michigan season opens Oct. 1st and I don't plan on passing up the first BIG doe that comes by. My mindset early is "Backstraps and Tenderloins". When I met Ted Nugent a few years ago he told it was "Rocket fuel" for the body. ;D
  14. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    on the other side of the coin,,, list three solid reasons why not to shoot fawns.
    Other than "it's just wrong"
    I have never took a fawn, but now as a taxidermist, it would fit in my show room easer that a life size buck. And half the deer on the road dead in the ditches are fawns, there are plenty of them every year. If there was a size limit as in fish, I would obey the law and let the little ones walk. However, there is no size limit on deer nation wide. So if it is legal to shoot them, why not, and why look down on those who do harvest them.
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Joey, you weren't "raised wrong", but this has quickly become like many issues between hunters, and us versus them situation. OF gave exemplary reasons why there's no harm in doing just that and why should the spots actually matter. When the winter pelage comes in, the spots are eliminated anyway so shooting one right out of spots only means a matter of hours before it becomes OK versus unethical. Hunters MUST stop taking issue at other hunters ethics as long as they are within the law. Otherwise we come animal rightists regardless of what justification or rationale we use. I don't shoot them just because. I don't shoot many deer I see just because, but if I wanted to, taking a fawn that is unlikely to be in the breeding cycle this year or in the case of a buck, unlikely to contribute until 2 years (unless he gets exceptionally lucky), then you preserve a mating generation's food source for one more year. Joe Hamilton, founder of QDMA, hosted a "deer college" here and he had some very inspiring words for all deer hunters. Comparing them to quickly becoming the grey squirrel of the suburbs, he explained that responsible hunters MUST play a role in the management of the resource and SOMETIMES must shoot an animal not because he or she wants to, but because it's the responsible thing to do in insuring the herd doesn't exceed its carrying capacity. I don't think a person should care any more or any less about shooting a fawn than shooting a 6 year old doe or a 4.5 year old buck.
  16. Brad

    Brad New Member

    George , that's a utopia we will never see unfortunately. The anti's could actually just sit back and do nothing but watch the hunting community feed on it's own. I just don't get it.
  17. Personally I can't get myself to shoot a baby animal of any kind, spotted fawn or otherwise. There are plenty of fully grown does out there for meat. I have not shot a buck in two years, only mature does. My philosphy is, you have to let the little ones walk so you'll have big ones next year. :)
  18. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    In my situation - with the earn a buck, there simply weren't any mature does in our area to be harvested. I'm sure there were some. But with the long season the locals had a much better chance of harvesting a mature doe before us non-residents could simply because they could get out when the hunting was good. I think the Wisconsin DNR finally realized that the extended seasons weren't concentrating enough hunters to move the deer around. And have since shortened the herd reduction areas (seasons) considerably. And I went two years w/o seeing a doe, so I was going to fill my tag with anything brown w/o antlers so I could shoot a buck! Of course the big boys disappeared after I had my doe tag filled. I must say that I grilled up the backstraps for my wife and kids and my wife actually said it was BETTER than beef (And she wouldn't even touch venison prior to this. "Too gamey") I went too many years with older, mature bucks prior to this. Good for the wall, but not as good eats...
  19. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    I don't know that I can. To me and my train of thought, Evelyn gave the very best reason(s) not to. Your are right, There aren't slot or size limits in deer hunting unless you count places like MS where legal bucks have four or more points and spotted fawns are off limits. Now I haven't hunted by those rules in 4 years so they may have changed. Me being a non resident hunter can not shoot a doe unless I am a land owner or paying to hunt on a lease. I didn't say it shouldn't be legal nor that it shouldn't be done. I just choose not to and wanted to see what other taxidermist think.

    My biggest gripe is this, if you chose to shoot one why show photos of a spotted fawn on a public forum that has been field dressed with the belly facing the camera.
  20. If it's brown it's down. And I am not joking either. Up in northern Wisconsin where I hunt it is earn a buck. I also hunt on public land. If I see a deer I shoot it. I will only pass up little ones if I have already shot two or three. Besides the small ones taste better and I need the food. My wife and I rarely buy any meat. All we eat for meat is what I can catch or shoot, seriously. It's not that I cannot afford meat, but why buy it when I can shoot it or catch it. I know... I am still paying for it through licenses, gas, ammo, hunting accessories, etc..., but the more I shoot the more cost effective it is. There are allot of people catching on to let him go let him grow. I'm all for that because it helps my business, but I personally do not practice it. I have shot on average 3 to 4 deer out of my gun stand for the past 10 years ,not to mention bow hunting and muzzleloading season, and there doesn't seem to be a shortage. And I usually average one fawn a year.