Huntmaster- Good luck! Just don't give up!
rz- I was afraid someone was going to ask that question of me.
"How many does do we harvest?"
It's not a simple answer, especially up in Alcona county where I hunt. Let me explain the situation first.
We have very diverse habitat across our co-op, (everything BUT farmland) from marsh to tag alder and cedar swamp, to open hardwood and black spruce ridges. (Total mast crop failure this year by the way.)
We currently have about 1700+ acres of low lands, which naturally hold the deer heavy, and 400+ acres open upland/ hardwood forest, with few deer. (even fewer this year because there was hardly an acorn/beechnut to be found.)
I'm in the middle, (literally). On one side a landowner is upset that he's not seeing any deer, and that everybody else is shooting too many does. (He's half right, he didn't see any deer on his open ridges). On the other side, I have landowners rounding up all the friends they can find to fill their antlerless tags in the late season. ( No lie, every morning and evening the deer came out of the tag/cedar jungle in droves to feast upon his foodplots!) I actually harvested a doe off his property this year, because my 40 went dry.
What do I tell the landowner who's not seeing deer?
I try to explain to him/them that deer are oppertunist, constantly seeking better habitat, and frankly explain that he just doesn't have the habitat (on 200 acres with 160 open hardwood with total mast crop failure) to support a constant flux of deer. Better years are to come, hopefully the Red oaks and Beech trees are loaded next year. They hit his foodplots hard, but when the bullets started to fly, the deer headed for the swamps.
Some on this board scream that there are no deer left in dmu001,
and want them to stop handing out doe permits, that may be true for their properties, but it would really hurt us.
Basically, the answer is; Buy the permits and if you are seeing does repeatedly, harvest the first mature doe that presents a good shot. If you're not seeing does, then don't shoot one. But understand that there are many more underlying circumstances than what actually meets the eye.
If you have offered to be the focal point, buy a flack jacket. Better yet, listen to what the landowners are saying, and just try to find common ground!