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Mule deer doe hunts

Why do you allow doe hunts all of October? In the old days ya might say you hunted bucks or does the first week then it was all bucks from then on. Horse hunters felt a lot safer then ya had to see horns.You call it youth hunt Bull the grown ups are allowing kids to hunt a little the first week then they shoot the does for them to fill all the tags wake up all you are doing is wiping out the does with a month of this. You used to see bucks with 10 or 20 does. Now you might see them with 2 or 3 does. Hello the more does the more breeding going on the more fawns born. Seems like its a fish and game plan to wipe out deer populations so you can make mule deer hunting a draw only hunt for revenue. The hunters cry about it being wolves not its the youth hunt for a month killing off the deer populations. No I have nothing against youth hunting I've introduced all my nieces and nephews 17 of them and my own 4 kids to hunting they did fine with the buck and doe hunt at the first of the season. Why don't you do the buck doe hunt 1 week parents care about the kids they will make time then to hunt with them. and get them into hunting like we used to. Can't wait to hear some of fish and games answers to this.

Answer

Harvest of females often is counter-intuitive to many hunters.  Many people tend to think that more females is always good because they are the breeders and will produce more young.  In some people's minds there can never be enough deer, or at least there aren't enough deer right now.  In fact, decades of big game research and management identifies a harvestable surplus of females that helps maintain a productive and healthy population.  We've also learned time and again that we cannot "stockpile" wildlife.  Our goal as wildlife managers is to maintain a population below habitat carrying capacity so that animals are healthy and habitat can support them through drought and harsh winters.  Once populations grow too much, there is less quality feed, especially for the younger animals and they die off in very large numbers, often after really destroying limited winter range.  Does tend to survive harder winters, especially those that have not had to nurse and raise young.  The nursing females tend to put less fat on and their chances of surviving are reduced if they have to compete with "dry" does.  Older females use the resources first and do not produce as many young.  Therefore, it enhances our chances of having a thriving population if you harvest females and reduce the older age classes in the population. 

Maintaining a buck:100 doe ratio of greater than 15 also helps assure that does are being bred and that they are being bred during a shorter period if adult bucks are doing the breeding.  This means that young are born over a shorter period of time is spring, allowing them to gain full growth potential into the winter, and reducing the effectiveness of predators due to what is called "predator swamping". When all are born over a short time, predators can only eat so many until fawns are big enough and capable of escaping; if born over a longer time, predators can eat more of them.

Finally, researchers in Idaho have found that the most productive deer populations in Idaho are those like Unit 39 where we have substantial female harvest.  What we consider adequate female harvest is less than 5% of the female population.  We actively manage the harvest based on survival expectations and population trends.  We do aerial surveys every 3-5 years and also monitor fawn survival through the winter by radio collaring 6 month old fawns in December and January.  We use complicated models to help us determine what level of harvest is adequate.  At the end of the day, we think we can produce a healthy productive population that produces quality hunting for all types of hunters through controlled management of both male and female harvest.