How many fawns will a doe throughout her lifetime?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Biology
Dear Grant myself and some local whitetail nuts have created a local branch of qdma Canada but unlike most parts of the country where qdm relies on a modest to aggressive doe harvest to balance sex ratios and carrying capacity of the land our area of Ontario is the opposite our herd has suffered some very hard winters among other problems predators,native harvest etc our natural resources does not have the funding for yearly population surveys but the governments tags allocation for antler less deer appears to be too great for what the population actually is .
Have you done any research or spreadsheets on how many fawns one average doe could produce over her average life as a way to restore deer populations using a less than modest doe harvest it’s easier to approach fellow hunters with facts because that trigger finger is one management tool all hunters use
Darren Ashick
Renfrew county qdma canada


Congratulations on starting a QDMA Branch!  That’s a great way to share deer management information in the area you hunt!!

If the habitat is “good” at least  50% of whitetails female fawns will bred.  They typically have one fawn their first year (as one year old deer).  The percentage of female fawns that will breed decreases rapidly as the habitat quality declines.  In some areas no female whitetails breed until they are 1.5 years old and have their first fawn as a 2 year old.  Whether they have one or two fawns depends on habitat quality.  Does two years old and older often have two fawns each year.

Before you start doing simple math, know there’s usually a huge difference between the number of fawns born and the amount that survive to six months old. Fawns that survive to six months of age are called recruited – or the recruitment rate.  

It’s very common for the recruitment rate to be average one fawn per doe or less!  The QDMA’s Whitetail Report (available for free online) had some great data about this in one of the last two issues.  I believe you’ll find that publication and information helpful!

Enjoy creation,


December 21, 2015