I was in a high seat a couple of months ago and saw a slender Doe. It looked quite young. It came in to 20 metres away and settled down to chew the cud. Forty minutes later an older looking but equally slender Doe came by and the two of them ambled off together. I was just thinking damn! The first one must have been the less-than-one-year-old daughter and would have been shootable…when a movement at the base of the ladder caught my eye and there was a stripy kid mooching around. Twenty minutes later the elder (I think it was the elder…light was falling) Doe was back and suckling the kid.
Last week I saw a Doe with a half-pint follower in the field close to the same place…the follower popped out of sight into the wood almost immediately. Another three or four months and both Doe and follower should be shootable.
I have always based my Muntjac shooting on the idea that any Buck was fair game…but because I found it almost impossible to determine exactly when a Doe’s follower was independent enough to make it an orphan, I have not shot any Does.
Best practice refers to only shooting heavily pregnant does…how can one tell the difference between a visibly pregnant and a heavily pregnant one when you only get a glimpse through the undergrowth?
I would be interested to hear from those who guide, stalk and shoot Muntjac Does regularly, what their take on the follower / dependant young issue is. No body seems to mention the identification of heavy pregnancy evidence in the write ups…does anybody bother about it?