My wife’s family farms several small pieces of property and around this time every year, I get an ear full.  They are complaining about the damage  deer are causing to their young soybean crop.  I completely understand their complaints.  I see firsthand the damage deer have done to their farms.  It is costing them money to replant on the front side and less yields on the backside.  I am thankful they don’t shoot the deer and let them lie, as I know some farmers do.

Does eating bean

A couple does eating beans as they first come up.

As the hunter on their properties I MUST do a better job reducing the numbers of does, but there are some challenges.  First, the majority of the season I’m hunting with a bow and it can be difficult to get them into range.  If I’m fortunate to harvest some does, my freezer fills up fast and it gets expensive.  I hate shooting a deer and then let it go to waste, so I may have to get creative.  I will need to find people who do not hunt that enjoy venison that I can donate some deer to or get kids involved during the youth hunts or muzzleloader season.  This could be a way to lower the deer population and lighten the expense.

What time of year is the best time to harvest does?  Some say they don’t like to shoot does early because it is too hot or they are shooting the decoys they want during the rut.  Others say they don’t like to shoot them during the late season because they could be carrying a buck fawn that will be a monster someday or it gets too cold to hunt in the late season. I can see both sides of the issue and have tried both times of the season, plus the rut.

The last few years I have not focused on does until I filled my buck tag.  I didn’t want to mess an area up by shooting a doe before I filled my coveted Kentucky buck tag.  Lately, the harvesting of my buck didn’t happen until November.  By this time the firearms have been popping and more hunters are in the field making deer  movement nocturnal.  Especially, on harvested soybean fields late in the year.

This year, I am going to take a different approach.  I am going to shoot a doe whenever the opportunity presents itself.   I’ve got to!  The doe numbers are getting VERY high on my properties and I have to do it for my family and the land owners.  Plus, it will give me and my cameraman practice for when the buck comes along.

When the fall hunting guide comes out for 2015 I have to check on how the law states deer tags are used.  I’m 99 percent sure the law in Kentucky allows you to use the extra doe tags before you harvest your buck tags, but I need to confirm.

What is your favorite time to harvest does?