Early season Does.


Well-Known Member
My question is mainly aimed at Roe but I suppose could equally apply to any of the female deer shortly to be in season.

What is the appropriate way to deal with early season does and attendant young?? Do you shoot the doe and hope the young make it through the winter, or shoot the doe and youngsters, or wait until after the new year when the young have a better chance of survival etc ect????

I would be stalking for sport and freezer filling with no specific cull target to achieve.

Ben P

Well-Known Member
Certainly in Scotland there is a general consensus that any Roe kids left to fend for themselves up until Christmas will not fare too well and survival rates are poorer.
I tend to shoot kids first in the run up to Christmas but it depends also on what sort of condition they are in.
Sometimes the kids will hang about long enough to present a safe shot if you shoot the doe first but if they are part of a larger group as is often the case in winter, the other group members can lead off the kids while reacting to the shot.
If you do shoot the doe first and the kids clear off they can quite often be caught up with again in the same area, either later that day or the next morning but this is not a rule to be relied upon.
As ever use your own discretion in these circumstances and you are better to take only 1 kid than leave 2 to face a tough time.
Remember does are territorial and there should be more chances during the season to add her and the remaining kid to your cull.
Hope this was helpful and roll on October 21st!
All the best


Well-Known Member
If in open ground I will shoot the Doe first. I find the kid won't go far, usually keeping sight of the Doe "at rest". It doesn't know what has happened and is still programmed to remain close to mother. I then shoot the kid.

If, however, there is cover nearby then the risk of the kid hiding there is greater. I would then shoot only the kid, expecting the Doe to leg it. The Doe will be there for another day, either for myself or another stalker.



Well-Known Member
At this time of year how much smaller are this years kids compared to the adult?

Do you eat the kid or are they too small to get much from?
I suppose we can't be sqeamish about this.

I haven't seen any yet to compare.



Account Suspended

Scoff the little blighters.

best tasting venison you ever had. They are smaller but you can still get a couple of decent fillets and a wee haqunch of each side for sunday dinner.



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If in doubt, take the kid.

If you do decide to shoot the doe first and the kid does bolt then sit and wait; do not go to the dropped doe. The kid will likely return very shortly.

I'll continue to shoot the kids first until later, when i'm more sure it can survive alone (if it got away).


Distinguished Member
This is an inexperienced view so please don`t shoot me down for asking, but unless your permission is overloaded, why take the young as well? isn`t this next years sport?
Also, if you weren`t sure that the young could fend for itself, isn`t the doe better off left till the next month?
I would understand if it were for pest control reasons and not a normal days stalking.
Thanks, basil.


Well-Known Member
i always shoot the kid/fawn first then take the doe
if you shoot the kid and the doe runs off then she will still be able to fend for herself
if you shoot the doe first and the kid/fawn runs off , it may not return or return in the dark long after you may hav left, thus leaving it to fend for itself, likely hood of it surviving is slim, if mum is shot early season
some will say job done , others cruelty the choice is yours


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I agree with Basil
unless you need to cull and the kid is healthy let it go , if in poor form then its your own decision , currently I have a roe doe with hanging front leg and kid in tow haven't had a shot yet just observed , do we cull on sight or hope she recovers . She seems to be able and the kid isn't skinny and looks normal, but the choice I make will be mine. I value next years harvest as the yanks say! .
Regards Trapper


Well-Known Member
I agree with Basil
unless you need to cull and the kid is healthy let it go , if in poor form then its your own decision , currently I have a roe doe with hanging front leg and kid in tow haven't had a shot yet just observed , do we cull on sight or hope she recovers . She seems to be able and the kid isn't skinny and looks normal, but the choice I make will be mine. I value next years harvest as the yanks say! .
Regards Trapper


Site Staff
As a rule of thumb you should take the calf first, then the doe. If you are quick enough, and competant in your abilities and are in need of reducing the numbers quickly and ethically if the chance avails itself you can take the doe or hind as well, and this also is where to a certain extent having a moderator on the rifle can help.

For Reds this can sometimes take some working out when you are in amongst a large group of hinds with calves as they can be someway from the mother at times and it pays at times to watch carefully before you decide which calf belongs to which hind.

But at all times you must judge the situation carefully and be ethical and have the welfare of the deer in mind.


Well-Known Member
I think the other issue as well Basil, is that to keep next year's population up, the mature does will be pregnant with next years kids and may be better left.

Shoot the immature deer and you kill one deer, shoot the doe and you can kill up to four.

Mind you, if you shot the doe, and left the kid to breed next next year you'd be no worse off on the long run. But who's to say it won't move off elsewhere?

Unless I had a population problem I think I'd have issues about gralloching a heavily pregnant doe - squeamish rather than moral issues. I don't have a problem with others doing it.

So even though they wont have implanted when the season starts it will be immature ones for me this season.


The Mole

Well-Known Member
My simple rule of thumb is not to orphan a kid before Christmas if I can help it, even here down south. The kid may be technically independent when the doe seaon opens, but still has a lot to learn and isn't 'streetwise'. I suspect that a lot of the undersized yearlings you see around in early spring have been fending for themselves through the winter without adult guidance.


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With the Roe doe being a territorial animal you will lose the kids next year anyway as she will drive them off in the late spring so in my humble opinion you should take the kids first. I also take into account that there can also be a fairly high mortality with kids in the winter/spring especially if it is wet and cold as they are the first to get into bad condition.
Also the young are more likely to be seen walking about on the fields during the day which can be a problem with coursing and farmers who then ask me if I am running a private zoo :oops: so for me it is yeld does first, kids second and if the figures need to be increased mature animals later.
With Fallow I'm afraid with me because of numbers is shoot on sight though in a perfect world young first, Muntjac young females or heavily pregnant ones are my choice.
I dont have enough experiance of reds or Sika for a personal opinion but when I'm in Scotland they like the yeld hinds shot or any distressed animals then calves and then if possible the mature female dependent on cull targets

Regards Terry


Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the replies guys...most of my stalking until now has been in the spring/summer for bucks but with the new lease the owner will be expecting some does to the taken. I have not paid much attention to the habits of deer during the winter, I see plenty but they are always charging out of a pheasant drive or trying to run me over.

Next question:

Are does with young likely to have them in attendance at this time, or do they leave them to there own devices at times like earlier in the summer??


Well-Known Member
They tend to stick with the doe unless split up by disturbance through the winter and only start dispersing in the spring. Where the doe goes the kids normally follow therefore in my experiance if you see a mature doe on her own there is a good chance that she has no young and is therefore a good one to take out.

Regards Terry
As a newbie to stalking this topic is really useful!

One query, when do kids/young become bucks or does and therefore governed by the open/closed seasons?



Well-Known Member
Snapper I may be wrong but with the new extended season I believe they have allowed the culling of either sex dependent young to prevent suffering until the end of March in line with the doe season.
Common sense is that if you have to shoot females with kids then take the female kids first as these are the producers of future young and have an influence on the population, the killing of Bucks has no effect as a whole on the deer numbers as one Buck is more than happy to cover as many females as are availible it just effects the quality of the animals that you have on the ground as immature or low quality Bucks get to breed that would normally not get a chance if a good Buck is about.
The important thing to bear in mind is that if you are culling for numbers then it makes no difference to the landowner what they are but if you are involved in deer management then shooting young Buck Kids before you can see what animal they may be will prevent them growing into mature animals who may be a master Buck of the future though probably not on your ground.
The above is a personal opinion but I hope it helps. I try to shoot at least twice the number of females to Bucks as a minimum and if I can even more as there are plenty of Buck stalkers but not many doe stalkers about when they could be shooting pheasants instead of getting up in the morning and getting cold and wet trying to get a doe cull done.

Regards Terry