What’s the best way to determine if there are too many does on a property?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Management
Dr. Grant, what is the best way to conduct a census on a property and determine how many does should be shot if any? We have about 650 acres in southern Mississippi with plenty of deer. I am trying to convince my uncle who hasn’t been letting us harvest does, and we have to many in my opinion now because that is all you see and the quality of good bucks we are seeing has gone down over the last few years.


The best way to determine if there are so many does that the herd’s health is reduced is to determine if there is plenty of quality forage year round.  I especially like to consider the amount of quality forage available during the late summer and late winter or the two most common stress periods.   

Whole body weights are another excellent indicator of overall herd and habitat health.  If the average body weight of two year old and older does is below normal for that area you know there are more deer than quality habitat on the farm.

Enjoy creation,


February 15, 2016