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Aging Does #8137744 01/21/21 03:25 PM
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Going to do a little MLD doe patrol for our first time ever down South next week, rancher wants does to be at least three. Bucks get that nose and kind of sagging rump and brisket, any specific characteristics on a doe besides overall body size that say I am mature?

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137746 01/21/21 03:28 PM
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When I am told to shoot doe's I wait until there are a decent amount out and shoot the biggest one, or the one that is snorting at me.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137750 01/21/21 03:33 PM
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Always shoot the one that is in front of you.

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137753 01/21/21 03:34 PM
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Just like bucks...sagging belly and swayback.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: Mr. T.] #8137766 01/21/21 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Herbie Hancock
When I am told to shoot doe's I wait until there are a decent amount out and shoot the biggest one, or the one that is snorting at me.

This is what I do as well.

Originally Posted by Mr. T.
Just like bucks...sagging belly and swayback.

Unfortunately at this point in the year, a bred doe will have a sagging belly and is harder to judge (at least for me).

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137773 01/21/21 03:48 PM
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Shoot the does that have fawns as they will be at least 2.5 yr old in most cases. If they don't have a fawn then they will likely be 1.5 yr old or just not good at raising fawns. Look at color of hair on face and then on the tail...the older does will be grey faced/ears and tail. Look at the skin on the face and jawline for sagging. Lot of older does in South Texas will get droopy-ear also. Then if you have several does out, just compare the body size and shape for age.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: ZK-315] #8137789 01/21/21 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ZK-315
Originally Posted by Herbie Hancock
When I am told to shoot doe's I wait until there are a decent amount out and shoot the biggest one, or the one that is snorting at me.

This is what I do as well.

Originally Posted by Mr. T.
Just like bucks...sagging belly and swayback.

Unfortunately at this point in the year, a bred doe will have a sagging belly and is harder to judge (at least for me).

Your right, that was my mistake for saying that. I was thinking about the beginning of the season, not the end.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: ZK-315] #8137791 01/21/21 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ZK-315
Originally Posted by Herbie Hancock
When I am told to shoot doe's I wait until there are a decent amount out and shoot the biggest one, or the one that is snorting at me.

This is what I do as well.

Originally Posted by Mr. T.
Just like bucks...sagging belly and swayback.

Unfortunately at this point in the year, a bred doe will have a sagging belly and is harder to judge (at least for me).

Not so much in South Texas as the rut started in mid to late December, many areas they were still chasing and rutting into Jan.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137807 01/21/21 04:12 PM
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The ones with the long heads are the old ones. We always called them horse heads.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137809 01/21/21 04:13 PM
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And we will be South, Del Rio, Pecos area. Thanks for the good information, looking forward to filling the freezer.

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137819 01/21/21 04:19 PM
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One more question, how do you feel about .243 for does? I shoot 30.06 most of the time but that seems maybe over doing it to the point of wasting meat for does.

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137834 01/21/21 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BassBuster1
One more question, how do you feel about .243 for does? I shoot 30.06 most of the time but that seems maybe over doing it to the point of wasting meat for does.


Are your does significantly different than your bucks? To put it another way, why would calibers differ by gender. You may want your buck to drop on the spot, and I would say you want the same for your does. If .243 does it for does, then why would you use something different for bucks. Vice versa with 30-06.

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137842 01/21/21 04:44 PM
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Put the bullet where it needs to be and any legal caliber is fine. I have killed does with a .223 and I put the bullet where it needed to be.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137856 01/21/21 04:57 PM
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[Linked Image]

This is what I try to do for shot placement every time.

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137870 01/21/21 05:03 PM
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Not to be contrarian, but it makes no sense to me to search out the older does. It seems to me that they are the experienced mommas that are more likely to produce twins and more likely to have their fawns survive. For me, when it's time to shoot does I go by the rule "see a doe, shoot a doe".


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Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137892 01/21/21 05:15 PM
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I would have thought the same thing but on this particular place from what I understand it is all about reducing the number of mouths. Shooting older does means you are likely taking out 2-3 mouths with one shot. We are guests so just going to do what the ranch manager asks us to while filling our freezers.

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8137901 01/21/21 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by BassBuster1
I would have thought the same thing but on this particular place from what I understand it is all about reducing the number of mouths. Shooting older does means you are likely taking out 2-3 mouths with one shot. We are guests so just going to do what the ranch manager asks us to while filling our freezers.

Exactly what you want to do when you have to many does. Take out the older does that will produce the most fawns leaving the younger ones to produce one healthy fawn, most of the time. That slows down the growth of the herd to allow for success of the management goals. By leaving younger does or does that did not produce you are allowing them a chance to produce an offspring to carry on the genetics that have. IMO if the management plan is working then the younger deer are more valuable than the older deer.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: stxranchman] #8137951 01/21/21 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by BassBuster1
I would have thought the same thing but on this particular place from what I understand it is all about reducing the number of mouths. Shooting older does means you are likely taking out 2-3 mouths with one shot. We are guests so just going to do what the ranch manager asks us to while filling our freezers.

Exactly what you want to do when you have to many does. Take out the older does that will produce the most fawns leaving the younger ones to produce one healthy fawn, most of the time. That slows down the growth of the herd to allow for success of the management goals. By leaving younger does or does that did not produce you are allowing them a chance to produce an offspring to carry on the genetics that have. IMO if the management plan is working then the younger deer are more valuable than the older deer.


This. If you've been working your herd hard, the hope is that the younger deer are a product of your bucks with better genetics.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: snake oil] #8137961 01/21/21 06:23 PM
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I call them "Big Bird" but "Horse Head" is a good one too!

Re: Aging Does [Re: stxranchman] #8138082 01/21/21 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by ZK-315
Originally Posted by Herbie Hancock
When I am told to shoot doe's I wait until there are a decent amount out and shoot the biggest one, or the one that is snorting at me.

This is what I do as well.

Originally Posted by Mr. T.
Just like bucks...sagging belly and swayback.

Unfortunately at this point in the year, a bred doe will have a sagging belly and is harder to judge (at least for me).

Not so much in South Texas as the rut started in mid to late December, many areas they were still chasing and rutting into Jan.

You're right. I should have clarified my location. We primarily hunt Freestone Co. Dad shot a doe last weekend and she was very heavily bred. We typically will see our first rut a little prior to Halloween then our main rut is generally Thanksgiving timeframe. We may get a few that come in in late December/early January, but it's not super common from what we've seen.

Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8138109 01/21/21 08:19 PM
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I dont concern myself at all with weather they are bread or not. As a general rule 100% of does capable of having a fawn will be bread. To me it doesnt matter if you kill that bread doe in the beginning of the season or the end of the season. You have no way of knowing what buck bread what doe and if it will even matter what buck bread what doe.

For picking a doe i always look for the biggest one, they usually have a long head, who ever said horse head above nailed it to me.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8138127 01/21/21 08:33 PM
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An old doe will look like she has a long head. Oldest doe I have killed also was skinny, missing teeth, and had loose skin on her face. Biologist looked at her and said 9 or 10 years old.

Worrying about if a doe is pregnant or not, is a moot point to me, shoot one after she is bred and she will be pregnant even if the fetus is too small to find or well developed 2+ months later.

When shooting them you are best off shooting them during bow season if that bothers you. I like to get does during bow season that do not have small ones hanging around them take a potential non productive one from the herd. The place I hunt on in Eastland county I have seen does being bred as early as the second week of October and rut seems to peak about the last week of Oct or first of Nov.

If it is where I can pick it will be the largest one most of the time or if the largest one looks a little thin like is the case often I will opt for one that is fat and slick. I shoot does for the meat.

We killed a couple does this past Saturday, one did not look like she had ever been bred and out weighed the other one by at least 20 lbs some of which was fat, she had a good layer of fat.


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Re: Aging Does [Re: stxranchman] #8138137 01/21/21 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by ZK-315
Originally Posted by Herbie Hancock
When I am told to shoot doe's I wait until there are a decent amount out and shoot the biggest one, or the one that is snorting at me.

This is what I do as well.

Originally Posted by Mr. T.
Just like bucks...sagging belly and swayback.

Unfortunately at this point in the year, a bred doe will have a sagging belly and is harder to judge (at least for me).

Not so much in South Texas as the rut started in mid to late December, many areas they were still chasing and rutting into Jan.


At the start of the 2019 season I had a set of baby twin fawns with spots that didn't fade away until later in the season. I think they were born early to mid October...

Re: Aging Does [Re: HWY72] #8138156 01/21/21 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by HWY72
Originally Posted by stxranchman
Originally Posted by ZK-315
Originally Posted by Herbie Hancock
When I am told to shoot doe's I wait until there are a decent amount out and shoot the biggest one, or the one that is snorting at me.

This is what I do as well.

Originally Posted by Mr. T.
Just like bucks...sagging belly and swayback.

Unfortunately at this point in the year, a bred doe will have a sagging belly and is harder to judge (at least for me).

Not so much in South Texas as the rut started in mid to late December, many areas they were still chasing and rutting into Jan.


At the start of the 2019 season I had a set of baby twin fawns with spots that didn't fade away until later in the season. I think they were born early to mid October...



Not uncommon in a lot of areas though. Areas with bad buck to doe ratios can see late born fawns also. A doe fawn gets large enough and born early enough that first year and they can breed in Jan-March. Here is a late born fawn in early November in Colorado county. I am 99% sure it was born to a doe fawn though.
[Linked Image]


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Re: Aging Does [Re: BassBuster1] #8138221 01/21/21 09:41 PM
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When I hunted doe patrol down south I was told to shoot the mother doe first then the fawn. Also agree with the longer face as an easy way to identify an older doe

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