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Use These Strategies to Increase Doe Harvest

Posted Nov. 1, 2002

Many deer managers have goals for their deer herd that require an increased harvest of does. The Noble Research Institute's wildlife specialists have used various methods to increase doe harvest on Foundation properties, and have communicated with other managers concerning the methods they use.

The following are some ideas you might incorporate into your operation:

Hunter Education
No other approach yields as many benefits as an educated group of hunters. Hunters who understand deer management, the goals for the ranch, and the fact that doe harvest is in their own best interest, are invaluable. Time spent educating hunters is a great investment. Create educational opportunities for your hunters show videos, distribute good publications, invite a wildlife professional or other successful deer manager to a meeting, or attend an educational meeting with your hunters.

Conservative Buck Limits
Hunters who cannot fulfill their desired level of venison harvest from bucks naturally shift that harvest to does.

Doe(s)-First Rule
Require hunters to harvest a doe or does, either within a year or within an individual season (archery, primitive or rifle), before they are allowed to harvest a buck.

Doe Quota
Require hunters to harvest a minimum number of does from the management unit.

Harvest Ratio
Require hunters to harvest does as a multiple of the number of bucks they harvest. For instance, for every buck harvested, three does must be harvested.

Fee Rebate
Where deer hunting privileges are leased, charge a relatively high price up front, with the opportunity for hunters to earn a rebate of a portion of the lease fee with a certain level of doe harvest.

Special Group Hunts
Find ways to allow access to the property for additional doe hunters. Youth groups, women's groups, physically-challenged groups or others can sometimes fit with existing hunter groups during specific time periods. However, such hunts tend to be relatively inefficient in harvesting does, although they can be good public-relations events.

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