Deer herd health begins with fawn recruitment

Posted on June 10, 2013

Keri ButtFawn recruitment; it’s a term that as deer hunters, we should really be familiar and concerned with. Deer fanatics everywhere “manage, manage, and manage some more,” for big bucks. But, when you think about it, healthy fawns and high survival rates are where it all begins. The two major contributing factors that have the greatest impact on the number of fawn survival are; 1) Predation, and 2) Overall health.

Coyotes are a detriment to the fawn population. In some areas, coyotes are responsible for up to 90 percent of all fawn deaths. Does will not keep siblings bedded together, so in the instance a coyote finds one of her fawns, it doesn’t find both. What’s the solution? We should be diligently hunting predators! I know many hunters who stick to this rule; “shoot coyotes first and deer second.” Personally, I have rarely seen a coyote while hunting, but I’ve heard them. I think those are wise words to live by for anyone whose property is overrun with the varmints!

Good overall health of the entire herd is crucial for a high fawn recruitment rate. Harsh winters, and drought can have a drastic affect. An over-abundance of snow or ice makes it near impossible for deer to get to any type of browse. During extreme conditions, does will actually self-abort. Drought can wreak havoc on food sources young fawns and lactating does need for proper nutrition which sets the stage for their growth and development down the road. We can plant food plots which produce excellent form of added nutrition, but unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the weather.

In the end, we’re at the mercy of good ol’ Mother Nature, but it still doesn’t hurt us to help her out as much as we can!