Doe hunts are invaluable for me as a bowhunter

shay mann

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Living out west, I might only get 2 or 3 "good" tags a year. And that usually means an over-the-counter elk and deer tag. And if I'm lucky a Wyoming Bull or Antelope tag.

So how do you get good at bowhunting, only hunting 2 or 3 hunts a year? I've found a couple of hunts where I can hunt does each year. Mostly on private whitetail ground, but some in National Forest areas.

I go through the same process of hunting does as I do hunting any other game. I take it just as serious, and feel the pain when I mess up. I've sat days in a tree stand, waiting for a doe to come by. I think that it helps me out, when I'm hunting a buck only area, waiting for a deer to make an appearance. Helps with my patience.

For me it's all about gaining experience. I've been bowhunting for 22 years, and I'm not ashamed to say that I still hunt does, and will as long as they still taste good, provide food for the family, and help me gather more "real-world" experience.
 

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JohnCushman

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Awesome!! I've shot more doe deer and antelope than bucks and I'm not ashamed of that. I'm also not ashamed to say that the only elk I've killed so far has been a cow. My wife was just as excited to have a doe antelope tag in her pocket this past December in her first ever hunting season as any buck tag in a trophy unit. I still try to fill as many doe tags as possible, not only because the meat is better, but also because I just like to hunt and those tags are usually easier to get and in Colorado, most doe tags are B licenses, so you can get a buck and a doe tag, or 2 doe tags.
 
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WestT

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I agree, everyone likes antlers (myself included) but I truly get just as much out of hunting does both mentally and in my freezer.
 

Festus

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I go through the same process of hunting does as I do hunting any other game. I take it just as serious, and feel the pain when I mess up. I've sat days in a tree stand, waiting for a doe to come by. I think that it helps me out, when I'm hunting a buck only area, waiting for a deer to make an appearance. Helps with my patience.

For me it's all about gaining experience. I've been bowhunting for 22 years, and I'm not ashamed to say that I still hunt does, and will as long as they still taste good, provide food for the family, and help me gather more "real-world" experience.

Yes, invaluable.
Does are great practice (not to mention delicious). Not just shooting, but spotting, stalking, patience, field dressing, butchering, processing... The whole experience from A to Z, just no bone.

Real men shoot does/cows too!
 

Epfd217

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Feb 26, 2014
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Eden Prairie, Minnesota
I would never apologize or belittle hunting does. Finding a buck has its challenges, but they become fairly easy to deceive during the rut.

Beating the senses of an old doe/cow can test every skill of a bowhunter.

I also participate in doe hunts every year. I can guarentee that the meat in my freezer has always been 80-90% doe meat and I'm not the least bit sorry. Its what feeds my family and I wouldn't hunt them if the population couldn't support the harvest. Its great practice for when the time comes for hunting that tag of a lifetime.
 
B

big28hunter

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Smaller target and just as much a trophy IMO. Good huntin'
 

Rooster52

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I am driving over 1200 miles to try to shoot a cow elk.That should tell you something.
I take a doe whitetail or two every year to help out our friendly farmers.And the meat is great !!

Great post !!
 

sbhooper

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North Platte, Nebraska
Antlers mean "zero" to me. A doe hunt or cow hunt is the same hunt, only without antlers. I have found that antlers take up lots of room and taste bad in soup.

I killed nine antlerless white tails and a cow elk last season and do not regret not having antlers to show for it. My freezers are full!
 

antlerradar

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Doe hunts are often needed but I worry that game departments to often use them as revenue generators and not for population control. Access to private land can also be a problem causing too many does to be taken on public land with the result of deer becoming concentrated on the private land.

Antlerradar
 

DRAFTSTUD

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SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
My take on Doe hunting is this. We used to have "Doe Days" though out our season, started out with 2 days, then 5 until they went to a DMAP deal where they issued tags and told you you needed to shoot X amount of Does. Well, as hard as we tried it almost always seemed to come out 50% Bucks and 50% Does. What we found out was before we had free rein to shoot Does we saw them more often, now they know that they are hunted also when the guns start popping and an old Doe is just as elusive as an old Buck. We have gone to Tags now and are allowed 3 Bucks & 3 Does. John
 

LCH

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Here in Indiana, we are permitted 1 buck (with a couple exceptions, such as state park herd reduction hunts). In my county, we are currently permitted 8 does. If I shoot 8 here, I can go over to the next county and fill that county quota, then the next, and the next. Of course I don't do that, but the DNR is clearly orchestrating a strategy to reduce the herds in most parts of the state.

I do usually take 1-2 does per year, and we either eat them or give them to someone else in need. For me, it's almost a relief when I fill my buck tag and I get to relax and hunt does..
 

StrutNut

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Blaine, MN
I too love shooting does as I am a meat hunter. The only elk I shot was also a cow and I was glad to harvest her! In a normal year here in MN I have also been known to shoot a fawn. As the season winds down, anything I get a clean shot at I take. Last year I shot a fawn in WI with only one remaining day in the season and I was glad to have shot it. I wish I had the chance nearby to shoot the variety of big game your western hunters are used to.
 

Kiwi

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Great post Shay Mann. I'm mainly a meat hunter and take doe / hinds regularly for meat. Nice to get a stag but I know what I'd prefer on the bbq!
 

genesis273

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Living in a state where you can buy as many doe tags as you want, and the love of venison, with the touch of obsession to bowhunting, you can't beat it!
 

TRS_Montana

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Helena
Yeah, I don't see why so many people only go out for antlers/horns when the meat tastes so good. Not that I would pass up a big bull or buck, but I usually take the first legal cache of meat that I can.
 

mixedbag

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Nov 22, 2009
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I don't do much doe hunting anymore here where I live.The deer herd has been destroyed in my area by herd reduction years ago.I do take my boys to doe hunt some farms an hour south of me where they have deer problems.I miss the days when I had a decent deer herd close by to hunt.The state started a big herd reduction program years ago with crazy amounts of doe tags sold.My area is a lot of public ground, and the city people come up to hunt it since permission is next to impossible where they live.Put a big hurtin on the local deer and they are very slowly bouncing back.I have no problems shooting does/cows but have witnessed the downside of it to.That was mainly the states fault with their doe tag amounts.Before herd reduction,I would fill a doe tag or one of my boys would.I wish our herds population was that healthy again.
I am thinking of a late season cow elk hunt this year with my boys.I agree that they seem to taste better.You western guys definitely have better herd management practices then here in the east
 

JohnCushman

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I got an email yesterday from a Wounded Warrior organization I belong to about some deer hunts being offered to us. They are doe hunts on private land. The nice thing about the tags is that they are List C, which means we can have as many as we want until they sell out. Another nice thing about this is that they have agreed to allow my wife to join me in the hunting opportunity. Yet, another time doe tags come in handy :D
 

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