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I'm a bit ignorant of the statement or concept of "fawn value as recruits". What is the concept in terms of deer herd management in an area?

Does that mean some hunters, and areas have a difficult time of fawns surviving until the next calendar years? And if so, because of what? Because of natural predation? Because of hunter and habitat efforts?

If fawns have difficulty surviving?, then what? Natural predator reduction? And any hunter decisions and actions needed?

If fawns have no difficulty in surviving and recruit themselves in areas with excellent habitat and minimal predation, then what?

(P.S. I didn't read the link "Chronic Wasting Disease: Recommended Practices for Deer Hunters" yet. I will. I'm in the CWD Management Zone but only on the fringe which is a 20 mile radius from Meridian Twp. near Lansing where it was discovered 5 years ago. And I LOL'd at LTL wondering if the deer might cross the dirt road on my east into the other county non-management zone (no offense). )
 

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I'm a bit ignorant of the statement or concept of "fawn value as recruits". What is the concept in terms of deer herd management in an area?

Does that mean some hunters, and areas have a difficult time of fawns surviving until the next calendar years? And if so, because of what? Because of natural predation? Because of hunter and habitat efforts?

If fawns have difficulty surviving?, then what? Natural predator reduction? And any hunter decisions and actions needed?

If fawns have no difficulty in surviving and recruit themselves in areas with excellent habitat and minimal predation, then what?
Imagine a fence. Deer in your range/circumference of thier range intersects with your site.

Choose a number. Preferably near actual number ; of your fawn crop this past spring/early summer.
That is the genesis of a year class (2020). Now we follow those fawn till yearling age next year pre-hunting season. How many remain?
This is your yearling class for 2021. Manage accordingly.

My sites fawns from last fawn drop that made it to hunting season , (and mind you the number means nothing to your ,or anyone else's site. With possible exception of my immediate adjacent neighboring properties) was 2 fawns.
Those are the year class of 2020 births.
A dozen +_ hunters are awaiting the buck fawn (singular) to reach age 2 to be legal.
Maybe among those hunters 2 is too young. I've not been told anyone around me would pass , but my point is , one buck from 2020 year class is the recruit going forward.
That's what I mean when stressing that it is the annual fawn crop that matters in managing a local herd.

When I passed all deer a couple years ago it was due to wanting to see more fawn recruitment potential.
When I took a doe fawn the following year there were more fawns than usual trend. But...I did not want to take an older doe. Because of the older doe experience in raising fawns. And the better odds of twins. Though not high odds.
How much does that older experience matter?
My crude measure is the unattended by fawn yearling doe in fall pre-hunting season. And when they remain unattended through hunting season (with exception of the mixing in browsing areas) then we know those fawns the yearling(s) had are gone.

Leading to your question of where/mortality cause.
Firstly here , coyote.
A prior estimated den count next door by our trapper of fawn remains was just over a dozen.
That was the first year he started trapping.
Other mortality causes exist of course. When fawn numbers are low , the risk per individual is greater.
(Thinks plains game birthing time and numbers in large herds vs predation rate by carnivores.)

Don't take this as complaint. In terms of desired herd reduction in a C.W.D. area it's good.
(Depending on who you ask).
Herd reduction means my sightings have not been double digit in years.
Am I in "the" spot all deer are seen each hunt? No. But it is a pinch point of sorts when local deer move.
And at times an evening destination. Though not designed as such. I'd rather they left every night after dark.

Among those single digit counts are several deer.
Among them varied age does and bucks.
Among them are fawns.
Among those fawns are the future of what will be available to hunt.
Two fawns. 12 hunters. (Don't hold me to hunter number per deer estimate . A neighbor and I ran through some estimates the other day..)
How much do those 2 fawns matter?
Emptying one five round magazine would more than halve my deer sightings.
And some neighbors sightings as well.
So kill choices are based on what exists. With what may exist in the future based on fawn recruitment.

Doe and fawn moseyed by the neighbor and soon as they crossed the dirt road /boundary , bang! Fawn returned alone. Shooter sprinted to doe and was almost throwing his arms over his head gutting her.
Neighbor found the behavior odd , more so as he'd seen the U.T.V. arrive and didn't recognize it.
He eased toward his truck thinking he'd find where the guy went with the doe , and the guy took off. (That is fast..) So that doe won't contribute to next springs fawn crop/recruits.
Was her fawn one of the two I counted? Likely. As the deer trade back and forth between us.

2019 fawn crop/recruits of bucks observed during 2020 =1.
Not saying they didn't rotate in vs stayed in natal range. What matters is , what exists.
Trend of age classes , trend at legal antler average(2 year olds), trend of hunter numbers , suggests that if habitat and disease management tolerated such ;higher fawn recruitment would increase hunter success/ ratio of kills per X amount of hunters.

2020 buck recruits of fawns observed throughout season. (Again) , was 1.
He'll be gone come fawning time playing in the road or something unless his dam is gone. She'll run all deer off (she's older and dominant enough to hold her fawning area still) before she drops her fawn(s).
He can return briefly next late summer and find cold reception if she is still around.
He leaves her (and related doe) alone he can hang around.
But before doe are receptive bucks will cruise about checking more ground than natal range regardless.
"My" yearling buck becomes someone elses. I get someone elses on my site. Bucks break out of bachelor group(s) and spread out off of summer range. (Well , some will.)
Individual bucks than summered mostly solo ease towards into fall range.

Year class numbers started with fawn recruitment. A given year class does not expand after that.
(Well , yes ,deer can drift in from beyond area being counted and become local deer. Or simply pass through exploring.)
IF my estimates are accurate enough and areas beyond mine trend the same in fawn recruitment we'll see similar results/counts of yearlings.
Recent trends of my counts hint that year classes of yearlings reflect previous years fawn production and survival pretty close. Even if I'm seeing different yearlings this year than the fawns counted the prior year.
 

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@Waif

Thanks for the explanation.

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of fawn recruitment. And I got bored years ago with putting out trail cameras. And seeing tons and tons of does. And some decent bucks.

I've actually never harvested and antlered buck. Because I would pass on anything less than 3.5 eight point. (I was three seconds away from pulling the firearms trigger on one broadside @70 yards this year but he was one step ahead of me) .And I don't hunt much over the last 13 years--two to three sits a year.

And don't think there will ever be a problem with hunter recruitment by me. And my 29 year old son-in-law and his buddy were recruited in 2019. And that is great. Also have a good buddy that wants as much venison as possible.

And I've come close to flail mowing 3 or 4 fawns in rye in June, but never did...

I like the communication and the discussion in this thread. One thing that is reinforced for me is that I was collecting does by habitat improvement on habitat that was already excellent from the standpoint of food, cover, water, lack of coyotes (partly because of house frontage on my south and east and better cover for coyotes away from me) and lack of harvest.

That being said, I already have thought out measures to have fewer does year-long wise, like minimize spring and fall food plots. Like make fallow areas those times of year.

From an ethical standpoint--disease wise, I think I owe it to the herd and the surrounding areas including the Co-Op to not overly concentrate deer.

P.S. After I typed out the above, I did read the QDMA article ""Chronic Wasting Disease: Recommended Practices for Deer Hunters"

We are not in, but are close to a tested positive for CWD zone. (few cases 15 miles away?). At risk in the future.
 

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@Waif

Thanks for the explanation.

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of fawn recruitment. And I got bored years ago with putting out trail cameras. And seeing tons and tons of does. And some decent bucks.

I've actually never harvested and antlered buck. Because I would pass on anything less than 3.5 eight point. (I was three seconds away from pulling the firearms trigger on one broadside @70 yards this year but he was one step ahead of me) .And I don't hunt much over the last 13 years--two to three sits a year.

And don't think there will ever be a problem with hunter recruitment by me. And my 29 year old son-in-law and his buddy were recruited in 2019. And that is great. Also have a good buddy that wants as much venison as possible.

And I've come close to flail mowing 3 or 4 fawns in rye in June, but never did...

I like the communication and the discussion in this thread. One thing that is reinforced for me is that I was collecting does by habitat improvement on habitat that was already excellent from the standpoint of food, cover, water, lack of coyotes (partly because of house frontage on my south and east and better cover for coyotes away from me) and lack of harvest.

That being said, I already have thought out measures to have fewer does year-long wise, like minimize spring and fall food plots. Like make fallow areas those times of year.

From an ethical standpoint--disease wise, I think I owe it to the herd and the surrounding areas including the Co-Op to not overly concentrate deer.

P.S. After I typed out the above, I did read the QDMA article ""Chronic Wasting Disease: Recommended Practices for Deer Hunters"

We are not in, but are close to a tested positive for CWD zone.
Matter of time for you to kill a buck.
There is no set time for that either...
Could be your next hunt ,or years from now.
You could by focus reduce the time. No obligation to even kill one on your part though.
Don't pressure yourself and it will remain enjoyable.

When doe are reasonably abundant , fawns can be of less concern. While still acknowledged in thier role of future year classes. And contribution to herd size.
You can control (well influence) herd size by killing doe. As you know , a doe gone this year means she won't be contributing a fawn or fawns the following year.

When a sites goal is reducing the herd in greater fashion , then depressing or suppressing rather than encouraging fawn recruitment compliments removing more doe (in kill numbers) than prior.

My site in regards to doe/fawn/spring is limited by scope.
A doe is welcomed to set up shop.
And one will.
They "claim" enough of an area to meet the needs of both fawn(s) and doe. That can be small or large of course depending on quality/diversity.
All stuff you already know.

IF I have a half dozen doe at the end of hunting season I can hint that they will spread out during fawn drop. As well as defend an area starting prior.
Most dominant doe can claim best spots.
Which puts last years bred fawns and lowest in pecking order/aggression doe end up in the worst, less desired fawning spots. Highway medians for example.
Or just poor habitat.
Had one years ago at another residence keep her fawn around a log in a fallow couple foot high grass strip property border between a neighbor and I.
Doe drank out of the birdbath on hot days. She and her fawn were not exactly living the high life.
Another fawn lay in front of a mostly unused tractor in another neighbors front yard regular.
Ect..

IF those end of season doe are going to have good health and thriving fawns with good nutrition and potential , they need to acquire it somewhere. They don't bring it with them.
Even if their numbers are not desired ; thier health and habitat should still be.
Upping kills when season is open will reduce the number.
Might as well be optimum condition /health of kills. (?)
But has to considerer surrounding areas , and natural deer influx/ egress during off season.
 

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Matter of time for you to kill a buck.
There is no set time for that either...
Could be your next hunt ,or years from now.
You could by focus reduce the time. No obligation to even kill one on your part though.
Don't pressure yourself and it will remain enjoyable.
Believe me, I'm very outcome independent.

I would put more effort and time and before leaf drop bow-hunting and better stand setups if I more interested in "scoring" a buck. And ditto more focus on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #127
Now THAT is a trophy doe. Awesome!

December 30, 31 and January 1 have certainly been good in Three Echo land over the years.

I can remember a morning hunt in the rain years ago, an evening hunt in a moderately-temped wintry mix this year and an evening hunt at 5F just back in 2017 (maybe). No matter the weather, the deer seem to be a bit more relaxed than firearm season and early December. What a great time to be on stand!
 

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.......... Surface plots help the herd year round. We have a more healthy fawns and horned deer. During the heavy snow winter (if we ever have one again) those fat reserves would be a life savior. You may think your uncle Ted is so wise, to me he is a guy that would have his mouth shut quickly up at our local watering hole.
To be fair, included in, and along with what you describe; is an increase in carrying capacity. Increasing carrying capacity is likely not in line with disease management. Kind of like "If you build it, they will come"!
Your are correct Lab. Keeping the hunter engaged is the key to maintaining this disease. Swampy doesn’t understand this factoid. No deer, no bucks for that matter, no hunter engagement. He constantly rips and try’s to tear down the one tool that can keep this thing under control. Us, the hunters, the one tool that actually kills deer.
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Some of us have priority #1 as venison in the freezer and are very engaged in doe harvest. Personally, I know I'd still shoot deer if they didn't have racks. In fact, I make it a point every year to participate in EAS or help fill crop management permits in over-populated areas when given an opportunity.
You can't discriminate male from female partridge before the shot. Yet many enjoy pat hunting. Rabbits - same story.
How many hunters thank their lucky stars when they draw a cow elk permit in Michigan? Why do you think that is?
<----<<<
 

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December 30, 31 and January 1 have certainly been good in Three Echo land over the years.
Unfortunately, I gave up on those days years ago. Back in the old days, I could use it as an excuse to not have to socialize for the holidays. But then I overextended my luxury. And as holiday parties became more important and the family got older, I had to reign it in.

And I had a bad experience once when I invited RMH and OSXer to help harvest does. At the time the old A**hole neighbors still owned the property to the north of me. They surreptitiously texted me about my and my buddies plans for hunting. Previous discussions with them had included objections and queer looks for me and my posse to doe harvest.

So we got on stand the first morning and didn't see any deer. But there were tons of deer tracks in the snow. It seemed odd. And low and behold, when we got off stand and looked around, there were tons of boot prints all over and down every lane. The neighbors had walked and scented up the entire place. And we ended up empty handed. Talk about hunter harassment that couldn't be proven. A perfect crime.

I called them up and asked them about it. The responded that they had to track a doe. Which was a lie because they didn't shoot does. And, wtf, all the foot prints were perfectly in all the lanes and two-tracks. Not through cover and shrubs that would happen if tracking a down doe.

And after that, I didn't have others to invite to hunt because they were busy on their own properties. And after that I had less desire to process my own deer, which I had done previously with help from another buddy.

I now do have a nice co-operative neighbor to the north in the last 4 years.
 

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To be fair, included in, and along with what you describe; is an increase in carrying capacity. Increasing carrying capacity is likely not in line with disease management. Kind of like "If you build it, they will come"!

Some of us have priority #1 as venison in the freezer and are very engaged in doe harvest. Personally, I know I'd still shoot deer if they didn't have racks. In fact, I make it a point every year to participate in EAS or help fill crop management permits in over-populated areas when given an opportunity.
You can't discriminate male from female partridge before the shot. Yet many enjoy pat hunting. Rabbits - same story.
How many hunters thank their lucky stars when they draw a cow elk permit in Michigan? Why do you think that is?
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Joe I believe you. I get the venison part. I also believe you are in the minority. I’ve shot many antlerless animals over the years and enjoyed the hunts. I can’t recall not one of those hunts where I’ve had to sit down after the shot and get control of my adrenaline. Not once.

The antlered whitetail runs the deer business. Take that away and watch the business decimate itself.


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From Joe; To be fair, included in, and along with what you describe; is an increase in carrying capacity. Increasing carrying capacity is likely not in line with disease management. Kind of like "If you build it, they will come"!

I hope so, it might mean that two years from now I might be able to shoot a doe off my property rather than going up to the herd areas. At least I am not in a deer desert anymore, they are making a SLOW recovery. One neighbor 1/4 mile away taking out 14 brown deer on ten acres makes a hole, not a dent.
 

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Joe I believe you. I get the venison part. I also believe you are in the minority. I’ve shot many antlerless animals over the years and enjoyed the hunts. I can’t recall not one of those hunts where I’ve had to sit down after the shot and get control of my adrenaline. Not once.

The antlered whitetail runs the deer business. Take that away and watch the business decimate itself.


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Any time I decide that "I am going to eat that animals heart" the adrenaline kicks in. If I know I am going to shoot the next nice size deer that I see... the adrenaline kicks in when I hear one approaching.
.... and I've been killing deer since the 80's (late start).
<----<<<
 

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Discussion Starter #133
I hope so, it might mean that two years from now I might be able to shoot a doe off my property rather than going up to the herd areas. At least I am not in a deer desert anymore, they are making a SLOW recovery. One neighbor 1/4 mile away taking out 14 brown deer on ten acres makes a hole, not a dent.
Interesting point about the hole. If the ten acres is attractive enough to provide for 14+ shot opportunities, then will the void vacuum in more deer? Or is this ten a transitional zone more than a core area? I know you said it was only 0.25 miles away, but should be applicable at any reasonable distance within a core area, I would think.

What will be the sign that green-lights the next doe kill on your property?
 
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Heavy baited ten acres, not even a foot on there even for a deer to bed. Sure, I could shoot 14 off my property which has everything but next year I would be lucky to see a deer a night. The green light for me shooting a doe would be when I see over a dozen anterless the majority of the time. My fawns this year look to be the heathiest I have seen there. No small knee high ones, they were either eaten already or additional new neighboring food plots provided additional vitamins. You have to remember that I have access to a lot of the Sanilac county deer herd areas. You quit counting deer a hour before dark because it is to boring or to many to count. It has always been and always will be that way up there. A BIG eight up there I would not even think about shooting that little guy at my place 25 miles south. That is the reason so many want APR up there.
 
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Discussion Starter #135
Heavy baited ten acres, not even a foot on there even for a deer to bed. Sure, I could shoot 14 off my property which has everything but next year I would be lucky to see a deer a night. The green light for me shooting a doe would be when I see over a dozen anterless the majority of the time. My fawns this year look to be the heathiest I have seen there. No small knee high ones, they were either eaten already or additional new neighboring food plots provided additional vitamins. You have to remember that I have access to a lot of the Sanilac county deer herd areas. You quit counting deer a hour before dark because it is to boring or to many to count. It has always been and always will be that way up there. A BIG eight up there I would not even think about shooting that little guy at my place 25 miles south. That is the reason so many want APR up there.
So, relating your experience back to mine, you're saying an average of ~6 antlerless would be cause for taking one doe, meaning you probably think I went a bit overboard with my removal of eight.

If your property is attractive enough to allow 14 kills in one year, why don't you think they would migrate in from off-property in the spring/summer, prior to the subsequent deer season?

It's remarkable to consider seeing too many deer to count an hour before dark. Almost unbelievable that any deer could get BIG with that many mouths to feed, but I guess there is an abundance of food. To wit, I know my buddy's farm in Port Hope produces bucks over 175# dressed.
 

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Port Hope ( Huron) you do have bigger racked deer. Sanilac still has areas with big racks also. The deer I see at my place are the majority in the neighborhood. When you have land developed for deer and can hold (bed and hide) deer in quite a lot of places it is a deer heaven. Talked to the guy across the street 2 years ago. He said he saw three deer total thru both gun and ML season. His daughter standing next to him said "Yea, and you shot two of them".
 

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Discussion Starter #137
Port Hope ( Huron) you do have bigger racked deer. Sanilac still has areas with big racks also. The deer I see at my place are the majority in the neighborhood. When you have land developed for deer and can hold (bed and hide) deer in quite a lot of places it is a deer heaven. Talked to the guy across the street 2 years ago. He said he saw three deer total thru both gun and ML season. His daughter standing next to him said "Yea, and you shot two of them".
And that's why I value the neighbors' inputs. I know we "bed and hide" some deer, but the majority are showing up for the best food, as evidenced by their arrival just before dark. I need to be sensitive to being the "10 acre bait pile guy". Great points.

Rack size in Port Hope? Not on his property. Not arguing with you, though. My experience is limited. His uncle's contest is tip-to-tip spread plus point count, if I remember correctly, so I've never heard much about CBM score from that neck of the woods.
 

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Discussion Starter #138
To be fair, included in, and along with what you describe; is an increase in carrying capacity. Increasing carrying capacity is likely not in line with disease management. Kind of like "If you build it, they will come"!
There's a continuum here. I'm not convinced our 2 acres total of plots over 3 properties are providing enough food to noticeably increase K. At this point, I do believe the presence of these plots increase kill opportunities. That justifies them in my mind. For now. I've been thinking a lot about it lately, though, because I can think of 2 stands that received new plots last year and still didn't produce increased kills. Was it worth the effort? Jury is out. I'll give it another year.

To be fair, I'm not sure you can equate an increase in K with an increase in risk. I think you need to consider the population size in relation to K -- and whether you've altered the population growth curve -- in order to measure risk. In other words, you start getting out to the asymptote, it's going to be an issue, no matter if total population is really low or really high.

Thanks for your input Joe.
 

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Discussion Starter #139
This popped up on my list today. Seems to fit this discussion.

 
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