|Each year we are asked the question what our opinion is on the subject of harvesting a doe. We do know that this subject can be touch and go with
some. But everyone has a difference in opinion, so please know that we do respect the views and opinions of all hunters. Just please understand that
we try to make suggestions and put rules n regulations in place for the benefit of both the hunter and the deer, both present and future. As well we
believe it is our responsibility as ethical hunters to practice both conservation and preservation. Those two things combined with the cooperation of
ethical sportsman & hunters and everyone (again both present and future) should be able to have the best possible hunting experience each and every
So onto the issue of harvesting a doe while hunting with Backwoods Whitetails. Allot of our clients that have hunted with other outfitters have told us
that those outfitters WANTED all of their guys to actually shoot the doe. Well first please know that we are a little different and we are probably weird in
allot of ways when it comes to whitetails. But it is in this area we definitely do think differently than others when it comes to the harvesting whitetail
doe. Now, don't get me wrong as we do harvest several doe each and every year. We just try to do conduct our harvesting of doe/management hunting
at the end of the season when area doe populations are more easily defined.
Now most hunters come to Illinois looking specifically to hunt for a trophy buck and will not have any intentions at all for shooting a doe. So please
know that although it is allowed, "IT IS NOT MANDATORY" to harvest a doe while on your hunt. As a matter of fact, we have areas where we would like
to see the doe/deer population to be a little higher and will discourage the harvesting of doe. But for all of those whom "ARE" wanting to harvest a doe
while on their hunt. Please know that along with the harvesting of one buck of your choosing, we do permit you the privilege of harvesting only "ONE"
antlerless deer while on your hunt at Backwoods Whitetails. So for those that choose/want to harvest a doe, we are requesting / suggesting / asking
that you "please choose to shoot a doe FAWN" if you are wanting a deer to take home for meat. Yes this can and will risk the harvesting of button
bucks. However, with the patience and added effort from each hunter taking the extra time to really look a deer over before shooting it. Those added
efforts will highly decrease the situations where button bucks are being harvested. Now before anyone develops a controversial opinion about our way
of thinking. Please give us a minute to explain why we request that you all do your best to comply with our doe harvesting program.
1st). A doe fawn usually will not come into its first estrous cycle until it is 6-7 months old. Therefore, those doe fawns will not even come into heat
during the peak of the rut while you are here hunting. Therefore doe fawns will not hold any value for attracting and/or holding bucks to your area.
Bottom line here is by shooting a doe fawn you are not risking eliminating any live buck bait.
2nd). For the guys with the idea of "I will just shoot myself a doe early and get that out of the way"? Well...We simply ask that you put yourselves into
the position of ALL of the hunters that will also be coming to hunt the same area "following your hunt". Again, If you were to harvest/take out/remove a
mature doe that is and/or will be breedable this season? First the biggest problem just created is that now that doe will no longer be in the area to
attract mature bucks and/or hold them in your area for when she is/does/or would have come into heat. Always keep in mind that just because she isn't
in heat on Friday doesn't mean she wont be coming into heat by following week. Taking out mature breedable doe during your hunt could not only cost
you the success of your hunt. But it could also affect the outcome of a hunt for another hunter that may be hunting that same area following your
hunt. So bottom line is to ask yourself "What would you really want the guy before you to do and/or take out knowing that you will be hunting the same
area right after he was"?
3rd). Conservation and Preservation: A 1 1/2 yr doe will usually give birth to one fawn for her first time. Doe deer that are 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 yrs of age
will normally have twins. But a healthy doe at the age of 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 yrs of age WILL NORMALLY give birth to triplets while in her prime. Therefore, by
harvesting a doe "fawn" you will have only eliminated ONE deer from the woods for next season. BUT, if you were to take out a mature doe you will
have then eliminated three deer and possibly even four deer from the woods for following years hunting season. Not to mention, there are usually
always button bucks in that group of fawns. Through encouraging these practices for the past few years, we are now consistently seeing "SEVERAL"
sets of triplets both on camera and in the field. Each season and on more than one occasion hunters have reported a set of fawn triplets to consist of
one doe and two button bucks. So although the results of your participation will not be seen instantly. Please know that those efforts are having a
positive impact on the future for some great hunting here in Illinois. So please understand that the intentions of what we are trying to do is for the
benefit of both the whitetail herd and for everyone that hunts with us each and every year. Thank you to everyone whom is ethically practicing
conservation and preservation while hunting with us here in Illinois. Your efforts as ethical sportsman are greatly appreciated and will never go
Best wishes to you this hunting season, B.W.O Staff