Will harvesting a doe decrease buck activity in an area?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersBow Hunting
Hi Grant,

First off, I love your episodes. I started hunting last year and shot my first buck mid November with a rifle. The area I hunt up here in Maine is posted and I am the only hunter allowed to hunt there. Each time I was in there last fall I saw the same doe. She is also on my game camera every day lately along with seven or eight other deer (only one decent looking buck). This year I will be bow hunting for the first time and planned on hunting that same location with a bow. My question is, if I am able to harvest that doe during bow season in October, will it spoil the location for my son and I during rifle season or will bucks still come through the area?


Thank you for the kind words and for watching GrowingDeer!  Congratulations on tagging a buck last year and having a good place to hunt!

I had a research project that lasted 11 years in South Carolina.  As part of that work we harvested five does for every buck.  About 25% of the mature bucks I harvested were taken during the same hunt (often with the same hour) and from the same stand where I had taken a doe.  Deer don’t seem to associate the observation or smell of a dead deer with fear like humans might if they found a corpse.  

Deer can be alerted by the scent of humans and the activity of retrieving a doe, etc., will likely alert deer for a bit, but not the harvesting doe.  

If there are more deer than quality forage where you hunt, I encourage you to enjoy the bounty and tag a doe and share the organic meat with your family and friends!  I hope to tag several does this fall!

Enjoy creation,