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Killing Spotted Fawns

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

  1. Auggie

    Auggie Startem young

    Hey you MN guys, do any of you have a opinion about our seasons? I think they need to be moved out of the peak rut. Or maybe a earn a buck or buck lottery? Something needs to change our deer population is being managed like it was 1975 when our population needed a boost. I think the DNR needs to quit worrying about politics and do what is right for our deer herd. Let the debate begin. Old Fart is right about the 1.5 olds taking a beating. Move the seasons a bit. As for spotted fawns, if that floats your boat good. Not for me.

    RDMARTIN53 Active Member

    Duely noted George and well spoken. +1 on your post.

  3. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Snub, you have every right to harvest any deer you want as long as legal. For me however, I think a button buck is far worse to harvest than shooting a fawn. You never know IF that button buck would've been B&C material because you harvested it too soon. AT least with a fawn, there's a 50/50 chance it's a doe. And in most states nowadays, there is no shortage of deer. Therefore, harvesting the does helps control the herd. BUT I am NOT criticizing YOU in any way. I too have harvested a couple of button bucks by accident. I just wanted you to see a different perspective...
  4. Someone mentioned that there is a 1 to 1 ratio of buck fawns to doe fawns at birth. I believe I read that also somewhere. If that's the case why are there so many does and very few bucks come hunting season? I remember also reading somewhere that the mortallity rate for buck fawns is much higher than doe fawns, for a lot of different reasons. I think I just answered my own question. Now if that is a fact, then by the time hunting season approaches the number of buck fawns is probably already decreased and your odds of killing a doe fawn are actually slightly increased.
  5. Tracker the buck to doe ratio gets all jacked up b/c guys only want to shoot bucks. When this happens year after year after year you do accumulate more does. Also from what i have seen here is the TX Hill Country the does tend to have a longer life span. A buck is hard to find over 5.5 here while killing a 8 or 9 year old doe is the norm at least where i hunt. I have a friend that bought a ranch 13 years ago and the previous owner had released a few year tagged does on the ranch. He claimed they looked like 2-3 year old does then not yearlings. Today 3 of the 4 blue ear tagged does are still alive and kicking. Our bucks get so run down from the rut it takes a huge toll on their body. Plus In the Hill country its not uncommon for your ratio be 1 buck to 40 or 50 does. I say Shoot fawns shoot spikes shoot does and let your deer with the best genetics breed. Now i know allot of you guys are thinking once a spike not always a spike. No he may not always be a spike but the odds of him turning into a true MONSTER is not likely. Culling for quality has already started to get hotter and hotter around the nation. If you had a piece of property that you wished to manage and say it was a large chunk of land so the neighbors didn't have as much influence or a high fenced property. Kill every 1.5 year old buck w/ spikes or 3 pts. @ 2 if they do not have brow tines. at 3.5 anything with 8 points or less. the list goes on and on. the theory behind this is Nevermind a buck to doe ratio would you rather have half to 3/4 of your does being bred by bucks with inferior genetics or reduce the numbers or inferior bucks and have most of your does bred by bucks w/ the better genes. once you get the bucks where they need to be. Then work on your buck to doe ratio and reduce the herd numbers to the carrying capacity of the land. Killing fawn does is much more logical b/c your mature does have already survived the gauntlet of nature up to the point and are well educated and much more likely to survive. Button buck do get shot from time to time there is often no reason for that. Is it that hard to look at the top of ones head before you shoot it? Just a quick examination of its noggin and you have a much better idea of if it is a buck or doe fawn. Hope i did not offend anyone too much with my thoughts, just thought i would give my input
  6. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    This has been a VERY interesting thread. I am a little disappointed in the fact that taxidermists seem to be as poorly informed as they are about deer herd management and population dynamics. Head mounts are the "meat and potatoes" of the taxidermy business, you should KNOW all about the management of the deer herd in YOUR state. That means both what your state is and is not doing to manage the herd. This can be a "political hot button" issue, you need to know the WHY of both the actual management and the theoretical.

    Deer populations are controlled by "limiting factors" that will be different in every state and even in different parts of a state. Generally it will be the food supply as it relates to your weather. In Minnesota our winter food supply and access to it is what makes or breaks our deer herd. We've been fortunate over the last 20+ years and have not had a significant "bad" winter and our deer herd is at record highs, something that our DNR takes FULL credit for. Should we have a bad winter and loose a significant number of deer it will be blamed on the weather and not the DNR policies that " built" the herd up. LOL For most of you the limiting factor is not deep snow and cold weather, but more likely drought that will limit food supplies. In most cases this means that the adults will be able to get to the food supply better than the fawns AND will dominate the food supply, limiting the access to it by the fawns. Adult survival is the key factor in rebuilding a deer herd, not the fawn survival. The population contribution of the fawns is TWO YEARS away, and significantly slower because the first time does have a greater proportion of single fawns than do the adult does.

    In Minnesota yearling bucks always make up a very significant proportion of the kill. This is the future of our business and we should be supportive of any way that will increase the survivability of that portion of the population. Yearling bucks are more vulnerable because they're "dumb". They seem to always stick with the does from mid Oct on, and this is when the does are very active in their feeding. Adult bucks are still nocturnal in their feed ing habits at this time. The does bring the young bucks to the hunters, it just works that way. The second factor that makes the yearling more vulnerable is their curiosity. When I used to raise whitetails, it was always the yearling buck that went to investigate the "new" thing. Wild deer outside the fence or just something different placed in the pen, the yearling buck was the first one to check it out.

    Our Minnesota deer season length is rooted deep in tradition and is set by the legislature, but I do fault the DNR for not being more forceful in their efforts to get the season extended. I think we should have a drawing for the buck tags rather than the other way around. I think we should have a DOES ONLY rifle season in early-mid October, prior to the regular season. And if necessary, we should have a later DOES ONLY season in late Nov. or early Dec. to increase the harvest to levels that will maintain the herd at healthy numbers. Most states with deer herd numbers like Minnesota, have significantly more liberal seasons and greater harvest numbers. Many of the biologist that I have talked with are in favor of these type of changes, but their hands are tied both by the legislature and the DNR leadership which are mostly political appointees rather than trained in wildlife management.

    RDMARTIN53 Active Member

    Interesting post Old Fart. Another factor here in NW MT to fawn mortality rate is the amount of predators...especially the protected type. Coyotes take their share in the early stages but we have an extremely healthy population of Lions, Bears and an increasing number of Wolves. We lost an estimate of 60% of our deer in the winter kill of '96'. Population is estimated to have just reached our pre- '96' totals just last year. Mother Nature has done her job in this neck of the woods.
  8. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    O.F. beat me to the punch on this one. There's too many variables to make any blanket statements across the board. Where I hunt in one of the CWD Herd Reduction Zones, for several years there you couldn't buy a doe! I saw about a half dozen bucks to each doe. I don't know if the buck to doe ratio was quite THAT high. But, it was out of skew according to the DNR. The lengthy seasons, Earn a buck and unlimited doe tags helped create the high buck to doe ratio. Add in an abundance of food and mild winters and hunters were pretty much THE controlling factor in getting to those ratios. Travel 10 miles in any direction and the ratios are drastically different...
  9. Auggie

    Auggie Startem young

    Old fart I am so glad that someone else in Minnesota can think! I wish more people would look at our seasons and see the problems. As for the DNR and the politics I don't see a change soon but we can dream.
  10. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    It is interesting to notice that predators are not really considered a factor in most of the deer populations in this country any more. I don't believe that the overall number of predators is down, and the deer numbers in most of the country are up. Anyone care to venture a guess as to why the relationship of deer/predator seems to have changed in the last 30 years?

    I don't think anyone would say that coyote numbers are down, maybe isolated areas, but even in the urban areas the coyotes and deer both seem to be thriving. I know lion numbers are up, ND and SD both had seasons this year and that's a new thing. We've all heard about the lion situation in CA, yet you don't hear about the lack of deer there either. Here in northern and even in central Minnesota the timber wolves have never been in better shape, population wise. Our deer herd has never been bigger, yet timberwolf sightings within 5 miles of here are a very regular occurrence. Why are overall deer numbers doing so well, with increasing predator numbers?

    When RDMARTIN mentioned that predators are a big factor in fawn mortality in NW MT, yet their deer population has increased since the winter losses of '96, I just wondered why? I know this is a little off from the original subject, but it's still about deer herd populations, and the perception of how they are effected by harvest. If I have to start another thread I will, but let's see where this goes. The subject is too interesting to drop.
  11. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    That IS interesting O.F. I have a theory as to why the deer numbers are up - even though the predators numbers are up as well.

    Around here, we have no wolves. First off I think wolves are FAR more efficient at hunting down a deer than coyotes are. Coyotes don't typically "pack up" as much as wolves do and are typically seen as singles or maybe two or three family members. I've seen "packs" as large as 6-7 though. Even so, I don't think the odds are in their favor to hunt down an adult deer like wolves can do. I believe they'll settle for an easier meal if available too. Lots of mice and rabbits out there for them to hunt vs. expending the energy on chasing an adult deer. Part of my thoughts on this theory has a lot to do with urban sprawl. Again I think yotes are opportunistic. If they can get a exertion-free meal via chomping on Fido's dog food or chomping down on Fido himself they'll do it. Lots of open garbage cans to forage through too. And the building of all the houses displaces all the mice and rabbits (and the yotes themselves) making for an easy meal.

    Now toss in an abundance of food for the deer and that makes for a healthy, growing deer population as well.

    Just a theory, but I think there's too many factors to come to any conclusions. Explain to me why that in the Eradication Zone in SW Wisconsin, that even though unlimited tags are available and apparently solid numbers of deer have been harvested, that the deer per square mile went up significantly this past year??? Because their overall numbers WERE down, was it "nature's way" for the does to have twins to get the numbers back up? Or is it just a natural occurrence for deer numbers to fluctuate that much? I think a lot has to do with the latter. When you're talking a herd of well over a million animals, I think there are peaks and valleys in those numbers that are impossible to predict exactly whether or not those numbers have been significantly impacted by predation, hunters or sickness (or whatever). But the slow increase in numbers through the years in the midwest here is unusual. If I were a betting man, I'd have to say a combination of factors including increased availability of food and cover and mild winters have contributed to the herds growth. Greenhouse effect you know...:)
  12. RDMARTIN53

    RDMARTIN53 Active Member

    I typed a long one then computer took a fart and wouldn't post. Heavy predator population here on the Canadian Border in 2 1/4 million acres with a small community of approx. 300 families. Some cattle and several alfalfa fields. The yotes sing all night in mid-June & July when our fawns start hitting the ground. Problem bears from the other side of the Reservoir in the real world are trapped & transplanted over here. Wolves were introduced a few years back and they keep bringing more. Grizz from Glacier Park are being thinned and released here. This is our first year for a quota in Lions due to the quota of 15 was exceeded in zone 101 in the first week of the season before Fish & Wildlife could close it. Just a few weeks ago I called in a lion on opening day archery elk. I personally know of two other hunters that had the same thing happen this season. Game Warden says it is becoming more common for Bears & Lions to be called in with cow/calf sounds. Wolf research team spent the summer a few miles south of me trapping and putting radio collars on wolves. On any given day hunting I can find wolf sign. Ask the boys in Idaho what the wolves have done. You boys back east and in the mid-west have predators but nothing like the kind we have. Predation does make a difference here.
    Fish & Wildlife does not want us to know how many endangered predators are here. If you ask the bioligist how many grizz in the area he will tell you two. Game warden trapped 3 last summer in our little neighborhood. They are especially hush-hush about the wolves. Why....cause we the locals know what it does to our hunting and we don't like it!

    Buck/doe ratio is out of wack here as most states. But thats a bad subject.

    In closing...If we didn't have so many predators we might get to harvest 2 deer & 2 elk instead of one each....maybe.
  13. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    I just noticed this thread still going. In my opinion, if you really need to thin a herd for the sake of carrying capacity of the land, shoot the youngest animal. The ground puts the least amount of time into the young animal. Thats just sound management. If its sex ratio youre after, then its wise to wait till you can tell what they are. Its like others said in here (and I just breezed thru most of the posts!) its a matter of ethics to some, management to others. Like with my deer, we line breed. Others refer to it as inbreeding, like its wrong. Well, in humans its viewed as taboo, but animals, its not sex, its procreation. Ethics or science. I say science.
  14. Ben

    Ben Guest

    I will never, personally, shoot a spotted or really young fawn. I have nothing against it, but I don't see the point. The only people who shoot them are those that are desperate for a kill. Sure, the meat's tastier, but it's a waste. My friend shot a spotted fawn this year just to shoot something. We only got maybe 30 pounds of meat. It just seems like a pointless kill to me.
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    LOL Ben. If your friend got 30 pounds of meat, that was a pretty damned big spotted fawn. To get 30 pounds according to the University of Georgia Whitetail Research facility, the average live weight of the deer would have been a little over 70 pounds. I do understand what you're saying, however.
  16. Ben

    Ben Guest

    We cut it up ourselves and it had all the bones and stuff still. It was probably 60-70 pounds live. It wasn't a bad fawn, but it still seems wrong to shoot something so young and little. It was from this year and it had all of the spots still on it. I shot a buck last year that weighed close to 200 and the butcher only ended up getting like 50 pounds or so of meat. When you do it yourself you get much more for some reason.
  17. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Theres a big difference between trophy hunting and herd management, as well as personal preference vs ethics. Its very sound management when the herd is avove capacity to take numbers out as soon as possible, rather then have the land feed it for, basically, no gain to the herd, just the detriment. I personally have no interest in taking that animal either, I know someone else probably will.
  18. Becky P

    Becky P One must believe the glass is half full.

    Bill, you hit the nail right on the head, trophy hunting vs. herd management. Where we hunt there are so many around us that shoot anything that walks, we really don't have to worry about the herd size getting out of control. Of course, it's still not "managed" right, because they are not selective in what they shoot, but we have no control over what they do on their property. We are generally "trophy" hunting, we haven't shot anything in three years because we didn't see, or get a good opportunity at, a trophy animal.
    My husband did go bowhunting this weekend and was going to take a fat doe (obvisiously had no fawns, she was too fat), but she spotted him.
  19. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    Never though this would go this far. I don't ever know how it ended up in the deer and game heads cat...Thought I posted it in the current events.

    Anyhow, I see a lot of valid points, but still feel its just a personal choice thing not to for me. I know that growing up with it being illegal played a role in this decision, maybe. I think I know why it is legal here in Tn. I live and hunt in unit L. We have a three doe a day limit. I don't know why some areas aren't taken out of the unit. The house I have now only has ten acres, but there are 0 deer that have steeped foot on it to grab up any of the acorns that have started falling. They may move in, but I don't even see any on the roads around here. Now like Marty said go ten miles and that all changes.

    Yeah, I know by waiting I am possibly killing two deer at once. I also know that if it is legal then that is fine. If its necessary then it must be done. What I don't know is why, just for the sake the bragging rights of killing something. Yes, you can bet your arse I will be the first to brag and show off any Buck that I kill. But the thing that got me the most about this deer was the dime placed next to the spots in the photo. I guess some would say that is no different then saying, hey look at this 140" buck or look at this big 8 point I just killed. Its possibly not any different , but it just rubbed me wrong..

    Thanks for all of your opinions. Old Fart and a few others I must addmit, I am impressed.
  20. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    Joey, there is nothing wrong with you holding a "personal" position in opposition to shooting fawns. My position is one based on sound management practices to maintain a healthy deer herd. Your original thread was moved, because I suggested to the moderator that it was too interesting a subject to leave in the Current Events, where it would eventually be deleted. Besides, the management of our deer herds is taxidermy related. It has a huge effect on our business.