So you are hunting and seeing way more does thank bucks. Should you try to reduce the doe population to better balance the herd? On this episode I share some basic deer management principles along with some of the biggest misconceptions.

Take Aways

  • Ideal doe to buck ratios are somewhere between 1 to 1 and 2 to 1.  A 1 to 1 ratio is so idealistic it is almost unrealistic. But a 2 to 1 ratio is certainly a reasonable goal.
  • Statistically speaking, the ratio can almost never get more lopsided than 5 to 1 prior to the hunting season due to birth rates.
  • Whitetail deer births are about 50% does and 50% bucks. So even if every buck in the woods was killed off last year, you would still end up with about 4 to 1 ratios depending on your area and survival rates.
  • Public land hunts where many does are seen without any bucks are more often the result of not hunting proper buck habitat or movement areas, or heavy hunting pressure.
  • If total deer numbers are low, it is best to take no does in order to build the herd
  • If deer numbers are high but ratios are heavily lopsided, it may be a result of habitat being skewed toward does.
  • Habitat is the number 1 factor impacting deer numbers and ratios, assuming the deer are not over hunted.
  • Before you begin harvesting surplus does, make sure you have a sound plan so none of the meat goes to waste. Often the meat can be used to help the less fortunate via donation programs like Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. 
  • Do not just use the number of deer management tags you receive and assume you should take that many does. That could decimate your herd.
  • Listen to the episode to learn much more.