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TylerS

What Deer Should I Shoot?

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TylerS

Honest question: I have a bow tag (didn't draw rifle), so I have the choice to shoot any deer that walks by. I'm in North Dakota, and according to our G&F Dept. the deer herd is way down (thus, my missing out on a rifle tag).

Ethically, what would be the preferred deer to shoot? I mean, since the herd is down, do I pass on does? Or, since others want bigger deer, do I pass on small bucks and wait for a big buck? Or, if it's the choice between a small buck or a doe, which would be better to shoot?

I guess ideally, bagging el beastro is the given choice. But since I only have rifle opener to fill my tag, that's long odds.

It'll most likely come down to one of these: Small buck, doe, or fawn. Of those three, and considering ND's deer numbers, which should I harvest given the opportunity?

I'm in it for the meat, period. Can't afford taxidermy bills.

Honest question, as I get conflicting information depending on who I talk to.

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HNTNBUX

Whichever one makes you happy when the time comes. Honest answer.

I like big bucks but.....enjoy your hunt.

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icehole10

Whichever one makes you happy when the time comes. Honest answer.

I like big bucks but.....enjoy your hunt.

+1

I would be more worried about even seeing a deer, but that's just me. If your only in it to put a little meat on the table. I wouldn't let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't shoot. If it presents a shot, its your tag to fill!

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Bear55

If you want meat shoot the first one that comes in range.

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ClownColor

I guess you need to ask yourself "why are you hunting?" Do you enjoy the meat? do you enjoy the hunt? do you enjoy the racks? For me it simple, I enjoy the hunt first, rack second, and meat third. I've been hunting for a long time now and up until a few years I'd put meat ahead of rack...but I'd never force that upon someone else.

If you enjoy the hunt, save a doe. It appears you can't even (rifle) hunt as numbers are already to low. I'd be upset if I count huunt at all vs only shooting a buck.

If you enjoy the meat and the hunt, take a small buck. No need for others to influence your buck size restriction. Everyone is at a different point in their hunting career.

If you're after the rack...well, its a no-brainer!

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bottomdweller

Good answers, I would shoot the first buck I saw. If the numbers are really low help the herd out by letting the does go. But its your tag and I hope you fill it with whatever you decide to shoot

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TylerS

Good suggestions! I'm getting a solid theme. Settles my mind a bit.

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Archerysniper

If you shoot a buck you are only removing one deer from the heard,shoot a doe and that is 2 or 3 deer removed her and the next years fawns. 2c

That said any archery deer is a trophy and I would take any deer that gives me a slam dunk shot.

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nofishfisherman

For me it would be small buck first if given the option. Killing a buck reduces the herd by 1, killing a doe reduces the herd by 1 plus any future offspring it may have.

Each area is a little different in terms of herd size though even within the same zone. If you are seeing a lot of deer in your particular area then taking a doe isn't going to matter much most likely. But if numbers are WAY down and you only see one doe then obviously taking one of the few remaining deer in the area that is capable of reproducing will have a bigger impact. Its really up to you since you have a better sense of deer population in your area then we do.

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InTheNorthwoods

I'd buy beef/pork/chicken. Its a sure thing, and you'll only have to drive to the grocery store. Then I'd go hunt for the same quality of animal* that you'd be looking for in any other year, and just enjoy the time in the woods.

Edit - *Whatever deer that might be.

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TylerS

I'd buy beef/pork/chicken. Its a sure thing, and you'll only have to drive to the grocery store. Then I'd go hunt for the same quality of animal* that you'd be looking for in any other year, and just enjoy the time in the woods.

Edit - *Whatever deer that might be.

Except, we rarely buy beef/pork/chicken. Our wild game freezer feeds us most of the year. But I appreciate your input.

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DonBo

If you rely on the meat, and your time/opportunities are limited, take the first good shot you get. Don't let anyone tell you what kind of deer you can/should take. Shoot, fill the freezer, be happy.

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smsmith

If the question is "what is best for a herd with low numbers and the intention to grow them (either by a person or G&F)?" The answer is to pass all antlerless deer and take any buck.

If the question is "what is best for a herd with low numbers, the intention to grow them, and promote bucks to older age classes?" The answer is to pass all antlerless deer, and pass all yearling bucks...taking only a mature buck.

Only you can make the decision that is right for you. I personally follow the second strategy I mentioned. However, that doesn't lead to a freezer full of venison that frequently.

Given the fact you are in it for the meat only, and the apparent attempt to grow the herd in ND by G&F...I'd recommend taking the first buck you get a crack at.

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TylerS

If the question is "what is best for a herd with low numbers and the intention to grow them (either by a person or G&F)?" The answer is to pass all antlerless deer and take any buck.

If the question is "what is best for a herd with low numbers, the intention to grow them, and promote bucks to older age classes?" The answer is to pass all antlerless deer, and pass all yearling bucks...taking only a mature buck.

Only you can make the decision that is right for you. I personally follow the second strategy I mentioned. However, that doesn't lead to a freezer full of venison that frequently.

Given the fact you are in it for the meat only, and the apparent attempt to grow the herd in ND by G&F...I'd recommend taking the first buck you get a crack at.

That makes a lot of sense.

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