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Some people don’t feel comfortable shooting does. This attitude probably stems back to the days when deer were scarce and shooting a doe meant one less fawn the following year. Besides, it wasn’t manly to kill a girl. This status structure still exists today. A doe in the back of a truck will likely garner talk like “just a baldy.”
At the same time the phrase, “nice spike,” is part of the vernacular. I get a kick out of the nice spike crowd. On their scale, a deer with very little experience is more impressive than one with three and a half or more years of living in the woods… just because she is missing some bones on her head.
If you’re pursuing an experienced doe there are a few things to keep in mind. These tips will keep your trophy doe from developing a case of ground shrinkage.
- It is easier to differentiate adult does from fawns when they are travelling in groups. Don’t shoot a loner doe unless you’re sure she’s a trophy.
- When deer travel in packs, the lead doe is usually the oldest, most experienced deer. This is especially true when deer feel pressure.
- Look at the ends. Adult deer have longer tails than fawns. The face and snout of an adult deer is also elongated while fawns have shorter faces.
- Body thickness is one of the easiest giveaways. An adult doe will be filled out across the body and have a wider rump and shoulders.
There is nothing wrong with targeting fawns. In fact, I usually purposely shoot a young-of-the-year deer every season. They don’t provide as much meat as an adult deer. But a fawn offers some of the most tender venison you’ll ever eat. The backstraps on that first fawn still stands as my favorite wild game meal of all time.