I like shooting bucks, but who doesn’t? I have shot 2 bucks and had some close calls but have not yet had a chance at a true trophy. This said, I also love venison, and when it comes to venison I will take a doe over a buck any day of the week!
We all know big bucks are hard to shoot. In fact many hunters will go for years without seeing a boon and crocket buck let alone get a shot at one. Big bucks are smart. The main reason we don’t get opportunities at big bucks however is because they often turn nocturnal, especially when hunting pressure turns up the heat. Many of us know this because we have trail camera photos of big bucks that never seem to come around while we are waiting on stand.
But why am I a talking about this. You all know this about big bucks. This story is about a doe. As I alluded to at the beginning of this story I will rarely turn down a doe if I get the chance. My WMU in particular allows us additional tags for does only as a means of lowering the doe population. I for one would argue that a big mature doe is smarter than any buck. They have many more challenges to deal with than a buck. A doe with one or two growing fawns can’t afford to be completely nocturnal. Growing fawns have specific nutritional needs, need to learn their habitat, and also have to be constanly on the move to avoid predators.
The inspiration for this post came from a doe I came to know quite well this last season. I first met her and her two fawns in early October when they appeared on my trail camera, see the pics below. I then began to see them feeding in the fields near my stand about every 3rd or 4th sit. I learned a great deal watching these deer over the season. The doe would only ever bring the fawns out from the downwind side. They would feed for 15 or 20 mins at the most and she would spend the majority of the time with her head on a swivel. They would make appearances on my trail cam from time to time but would never come by my stand in the day light, I wondered if they knew it was there!
Time came and went and I harvested my buck Nov. 7th so now it was time to put some meat in the freezer. The rut was over now and my doe had taken on two rogue does who were now tagging along with her and the fawns. Still they would never come close and only enter the field downwind from me. I finally got my opportunity on a morning in late November. I had never seen the does in the morning. Luck was on my side and the farmer one field over was walking his dog into the bush at first light. The does were flushed out and ran right at me, I was surprised to say the least. The big doe however pulled up out of a flat out run at 70yds. I couldn’t believe it. How did they know, the wind was for once in my face and there is no way she could see me. The fawns stopped with her but luckily one of the younger does didn’t notice her concern until she was at 35 yrds. Did I mention I was caught off guard? No time for the range finder. I set my 40 yard pin just at the top of her back… she was 45 yards right? My carbon express arrow sailed right over her back.
Later in December I had a similar scenario where I setup in a new location, hoping to head off the does, and had my Dad in my other stand. This time I had a first class seat as we were foiled again. On this occasion the mature doe actually corralled the other deer away, who were heading right towards my Dad.
I am sure many of you have some similar stories about encounters with clever does i encourage you to share. The point of the story is that we should be just as proud of the does we harvest as they can be just a weary as a 180 class buck. Happy hunting! Turkey season in 4 days