How To Make Sure You’re Really Shooting A Doe

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The National Deer Association is pleased to announce the premiere of a new educational video project, “How to Identify Antlerless Deer in the Field,” produced in partnership with The Bearded Buck. The 17-minute video uses footage of live, wild whitetails to teach viewers how to separate adult does from younger does, doe fawns and buck fawns. The video includes an 18-deer quiz.

Balancing a deer population with the habitat and available food requires harvesting the appropriate number of does. This may be a lot in some areas, a few in others, and even none in isolated cases. Being able to separate them by age in the field allows hunters to selectively harvest antlerless deer based on whether their goal is to harvest more mature does and reduce the deer herd, or harvest younger does and allow the deer herd to grow.

In this new video, NDA Chief Conservation Officer and wildlife biologist Kip Adams shares tips to help viewers separate adult does from younger does in the field, and even identify whether fawns (deer under 1 year of age) are does or bucks.

The 18-deer quiz then allows viewers to practice what they learned by providing a few seconds to identify wild deer in live footage from the field. In each of nine scenarios, with 18 deer in all, Kip then provides his analysis of the deer in the scenario.

“The ability to separate live antlerless deer into two general age groups – fawns and adults – is obtainable for all hunters with a little knowledge and some practice,” said Adams. “The three key characteristics are body size and shape, head size and shape, and animal behavior. This is especially pertinent when you have a group of deer in front of you during hunting season. Estimating the sex and age of live antlerless deer is a great skill for hunters.”


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