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here's a topic i've been thinking about for some time..

i practice QDM on our property. i don't think we're anywhere near "capacity", so we haven't been harvesting a ton of doe, but we take a few each year. my question is this - should you harvest your doe in october or november.

my theory is that if we take a few in october, there will be less around for the rut, which would intensify competion, and hopefully, result in more sightings of bucks.

my hunting partners think that we should wait until gun season - essentially for the same reason - the rut. knowing that those doe are going to get bred, they say leave them - thinking there will be more activity during the rut.

our ratio is poor - we've only been practicing QDM for the past couple of years, and this year hope to get a co-op going to get better results.. i'd say the ratio is probably 4 or 5 doe to each buck, with maybe 15-20 deer per square mile, in primarily farm land.

any thoughts?
 

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First off, regarding sex ratios, visual sightings will always indicate a poorer ratio than there actually is. For example, I may see 1 buck, once while hunting, but capture him on film 7 or 8 times throughout the year. On average, about 1/2 the bucks I get on film, I never see with my eyes. At the same time, my camera census is intense, with 3 cameras running full-time from the first of April until December/January, usually resulting in around 800 photos. This year I'm adding a 4th camera.

For me personally, my rut time is buck time. When does need to be harvested, I'd rather harvest them the first few days of bow, at opportune times....late morning, early afternoon, or the last part of December. The problem with waiting until late December is that your deer may move or become "hunter unfriendly" and the level of difficulty may be substantially increased.

I feel if you offer year-round nutrition, and have the best habitat around, you will still have plenty to lure those bucks around during the rut. At the same time, fewer does may equal a more intense rut with seeking and fighting possibly increasing. Try and figure out what number of a core group of does you should carry on the property during the summer, and then selectively take the excess. With great habitat you should still have plenty of does to attract bucks during the rut.
 

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If you shoot does before the rut, the bucks will not be expending energy breeding does that will only be shot later in the season.
 

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My opinion is this; the earlier the better, but only when the sex ratios are under control.

If you are only a few years into your management plan, and are hoping to get neighbors involved in a co-op, and your sex ratios are to great, then I would say bite the bullet now and harvest does at any oppertunity you get throughout the season.

Once you have gained control of the doe population, and have your neighbors on the same management plan page as yourself, then start thinking about being selective.
 
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