A client recently posted an account of his first muntjac taken on my ground in Suffolk. A keen eyed reader noticed the milk sack and criticised him for taking a lacatating doe. I wonder what the general view is of this but perhaps readers would consider the issues. The wood is an SSSI and designated ancient woodland. There were high numbers of muntjac and roe which are now maintained at acceptable levels.The deer management is subject to scruntiny by Natural England who defer to the FC in the matter of deer. Best practice dictates that attendant kids should be taken before the doe but it is often the case that a kid is not with the dam. Can you really turn up the chance of a cull by waiting to see the milk sac of an animal in cover, possibly in bad light and perhaps over 100yrds away? Clearly if the animal is close and in the open and you can see then it would not be humane to knowingly shoot a doe with a swollen milk sac.
On my ground roe does are not taken before Christmas and the kids in November are generally skin and bone and not worth shooting. I wait for them to get bigger as there is a higher demand for the carcasses in late December.
If the dams are taken early although the kids may be weaned(we hardly ever find roe lactating in the early part of the doe season - not so with fallow) they would normally be with their mothers for a further 5 months. They may survive but they are more likely to be poor doers. Livestock breeder know poor doers are likely to beget poor doers. I would far rather take a heavily pregnant doe in March when she is about to eject her kids(assuming I haven't culled them) than orphan kids in the early part of the season. It seems to me that one maxim - is it female and is it safe? about culling does is too simplistic.
Lastly some years ago we were involved with the DI culling fallow around Bury St. Edmunds. There was no policy about does and fallow does were taken indescriminatley in November. When you have 15/20 fallow milling around it is impossible to tag does with kids and we were under pressure to reduce numbers, any number of does were taken, most, certainly on my ground were lactating. The temptation, particularly when you have some way to travel, is to take the largest animals. It is a sad fact that a goaty old fallow buck gets the same £kg as a fat sweet pricket.
Is there any evidence/information/research about how kids orphoned early perform?
I think you need to rethink and rewrite your introduction to the site. Please.