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Thread: Cow/doe hunting

  1. #1

    Default Cow/doe hunting

    This has probably already been talked about but doing a cow elk hunt or some doe deer or Antelope hunting would be a cool episode. In reality lots of public land DIY hunters are out there hunting cows and does. And they offer a great opportunity for the beginner hunter or nonresident who just wants to hunt elk, not mention how it plays a role in conservation. Heck, hunting a "trophy" doe Antelope can be just as fun and challenging as a big buck.

  2. #2
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    100 percent agreed. The problem is that most people are all wrapped around horns/antlers and don't care about does/cows.
    You did not "seen" anything. You "saw" it.
    Liberals with guns are nothing but hypocrites.
    New member of BHA.

  3. Default

    Maybe it's me, but I've found that hunting cows and does makes me a better bull/buck hunter. I've hardly been busted by the bull/bucks, but getting past the senses of the does and cows is much harder, especially since there are multiple does/cows surrounding that bull/buck at times.

  4. #4

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    It sorta funny, I have a friend who would rather starve than shoot a doe. But he puts in for cow elk tags. He will take a dinky 2 point over a big fat doe any day and has eaten tags in the past. It's his tag and his choice but at the end of the day I like to have meat in my freezer.

    There's nothing better that hunters can do to help younger hunters appreciate the opportunities we have than celebrating the harvest of a doe or cow. It's great to have a rack on the wall but there is definitely too much emphasis placed on scoring and points today. I think it's great when the various shows do an episode on the antlerless harvest.

  5. #5
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    Horn porn is fascinating. I, in particular like big mulies.
    I doubt the majority of folks would have much attention span for a extended story of a hunt of the female critters.
    Yet, I've had a lotta really great experiences doing just such. Particularly cow elk.
    I like hunting cows like bulls - back in there.
    Set up wall tent camp in the Crazies in a blizzard. Sat alone in the tent next to the woodstove near hypothermic that night till I thawed out. Woke up next morning left the tent in the clouds, came upon a buncha tracks. Followed them in silent deep snow with almost zero visibility. Almost walked into the little bunch of cows and calves after an hour and half. Picked a lone cow and shot her without them even knowing I was there.
    Packed out a half that day. A good friend got to camp that night and we both headed back out the next morning - him to hunt, me to pack.
    15 minutes from the tent, a young mountain lion cut my track and I followed both our tracks right to my kill site. Minutes old lion track everywhere and to my amazement - a whole ripped in the game bagged hind quarter with about a softball size chunk of meat eaten. The lion was probably right there somewhere, but never saw it. Packed out the rest without incident. End of story.
    Never make for a very exciting you tube vid or TV episode. But It's something I carry with me always.
    Never woulda made that memory shooting an doe under a pivot nor a cow a couple hundred yards from the 4wheeler.
    Hunts for critters without horns are what you wanna make of em.

  6. #6

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    I am not one who hunts for antlers. I have traveled to western states 8 times with "only" a cow elk tag in my pocket. Success came 7 times. I saw some monster bulls during those trips, and that was thrilling. I did not need to pull the trigger on one of them to make my trip. My family and friends enjoy elk meat as do I. I enjoy the western hunting experience. I certainly appreciate antlers, but antlers do not drive my passion for hunting. In my opinion, TV shows and other media place way too much emphasis on antlers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefty315 View Post
    It sorta funny, I have a friend who would rather starve than shoot a doe. But he puts in for cow elk tags. He will take a dinky 2 point over a big fat doe any day and has eaten tags in the past. It's his tag and his choice but at the end of the day I like to have meat in my freezer.

    There's nothing better that hunters can do to help younger hunters appreciate the opportunities we have than celebrating the harvest of a doe or cow. It's great to have a rack on the wall but there is definitely too much emphasis placed on scoring and points today. I think it's great when the various shows do an episode on the antlerless harvest.
    I agree with all of this ^^.

    A part of me would almost rather shoot a doe then a dinky two point, let him grow. A friend of mine argues that when you shoot a doe you are taking at least two deer out of the population. I haven't come across that argument on this thread yet...thoughts? On some block management areas we hunt that is about all you can find to shoot, some years we can OTC several doe tags.
    Made in Montana.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pondera View Post
    I agree with all of this ^^.

    A part of me would almost rather shoot a doe then a dinky two point, let him grow. A friend of mine argues that when you shoot a doe you are taking at least two deer out of the population. I haven't come across that argument on this thread yet...thoughts? On some block management areas we hunt that is about all you can find to shoot, some years we can OTC several doe tags.
    For sure harvesting females affects the population more than harvesting males, though I don't know what the official statistics are on this. One buck can breed quite a few does, and its the does producing the fawns obviously. But that's why they have doe/cow hunts, to reduce the herd size, or keep it from growing if it's at objective. So conservation-wise harvesting the females can be a good thing. Personally I'd rather shoot something with horns or antlers, even if they are small but I do love hunting and eating wild game and buying doe tags and cow tags provides more hunting opportunities and a fuller freezer.
    Last edited by Carl 9.3x62; 02-22-2017 at 02:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Shooting mulie does can be problematic, depending on habitat and mortality, as they do not reproduce like white-tailed deer do. Killing lots of does is the best thing that you can do for a white-tail population. My observations here in this good habitat, is that a young doe will have a single fawn as her first. After that, they usually have twins and many times they have triplets here.

    That is the reason that I always have summertime deer meat in my freezer thanks to depredation permits. There were over 100 deer killed this year within probably three air miles of my house, counting the 20 that we shot last summer. Great habitat makes for a rat-like reproduction rate on them.

    A friend of mine made the statement that he, "would not shoot anything with tits". I had a few choice words for that, but then again, he does not eat the meat, so whatever floats his boat!
    You did not "seen" anything. You "saw" it.
    Liberals with guns are nothing but hypocrites.
    New member of BHA.

  10. #10

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    Bump. I was going to suggest this idea, but searched and others had beat me to it. There may be other easterners like me who have no experience in the west, and would like to get an "easy" hunt under our belts before committing to a points strategy or going after big bulls. I'm thinking about a Wyoming hunt in 2019, but it's a big commitment - mainly time but also money.

    I'm looking at an asterisk unit with some peaks in the 6-7000' range and basins in the 5s. Where would one expect to find cow elk in mid-October - above treeline, in the timber, in the basins? You talk a lot about the needs of bulls during the different phases, which need is sometimes "cows," but I can't find you having discussed what the needs of those cows are.

    I spent a summer in Colorado and Wyoming high country, but that was 15 years ago, and I was building trail, not stalking game. But surely it won't be quite as easy as the mule deer who would wake us up with their eating right outside our tents at treeline in the Wind (sidebar: that was terrifying the first time experiencing it 14 miles from the trailhead in griz country). Or are the females that easy?

  11. #11

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    I'd watch a cow elk hunt for sure. I think it would be interesting to see just how much more challenging it is than the bull hunts.
    The day I stop hunting is the day I stop breathing.

    You can't eat antlers!!!

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    I usually will pick up a few cow/calf elk and doe/fawn antelope tags each year. I would rather hunt each year, even if it doesn’t have antlers. Wyoming left over tags are much cheaper. You can get two doe/fawn tags for the price of a buck tag. For me meat is king. We love wild meat and do our best to not buy other red meat unless we run out.

  13. #13

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    Where doe/cow tags are cheaper than buck/bull I'll go hunt the cheap tag. Problem is most states charge the same regardless of the sex and at non resident rates I'd rather shoot a buck or bull.

  14. #14

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    I hunt to fill my freezers, not my walls.

  15. #15

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    I would definitely watch a cow or doe hunt.

  16. #16

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    I've got my second elk tag this year, second year in a row with a Cow tag. Growing up in MN, shooting an elk was a dream regardless of gender. I definitely want the chance to run down "Big Hank" at some point but for now I'm more than happy to hang a tag on a Cow if I can make it happen. Any discussions on here or in the podcast on Cow specific tactics would be much appreciated though I think the last E-Scouting video had the best point... Cow's will be found where the BEST food is. All the more reason to pay attention to boundaries and canopy disruptions I guess. Any other seasonal changes in behavior would be much appreciated, or maybe tactics based on location (NV/AZ vs. MT/WY). Great thread!
    "The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom." - TR

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeAir84 View Post
    I've got my second elk tag this year, second year in a row with a Cow tag. Growing up in MN, shooting an elk was a dream regardless of gender. I definitely want the chance to run down "Big Hank" at some point but for now I'm more than happy to hang a tag on a Cow if I can make it happen. Any discussions on here or in the podcast on Cow specific tactics would be much appreciated though I think the last E-Scouting video had the best point... Cow's will be found where the BEST food is. All the more reason to pay attention to boundaries and canopy disruptions I guess. Any other seasonal changes in behavior would be much appreciated, or maybe tactics based on location (NV/AZ vs. MT/WY). Great thread!
    Where is your cow elk tag for?

  18. Default

    I'm stoked to be able to shoot a cow elk this year on one of the tags I have for Idaho. I've never shot an elk before and I'm going to be thrilled if I can tag a cow.

    I'm also happy to have some doe antelope tags in my pocket this year. I'll be hunting a new unit, getting to know the flow of the hunting pressure there, and I'll have a decent chance of bringing home some delicious meat. And my kids (and for that matter, me) will be getting some valuable experience hunting, shooting and processing too.

    Can't wait for September to get here!!

  19. #19

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    I agree completely as if I could go back early in my career I think I would have focused on doe/cow hunts more and been able to hunt some really neat areas as opposed to going primarily the bull/buck route. Then I would have preferred to have a less desirable tag that included horns and now I find myself looking for good cow/doe opportunities on WIHA and looking at freezers to store the meat. The more I learn about food at the supermarket the more I hunt and spend time in the garden.

    There will be more and more "meat" hunting programs in the future as we are already seeing many mainstream shows on Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, etc show hunting from a food perspective as opposed to pretty much all hunting shows which are trophy based. I think this is a good thing and will help animal managers having new types of hunters interested in small game and meat hunting for big game as opposed to another guy in a jacked up truck with lots of stickers, carries a 6.5 creed hot, who dreams of a tag in Arizona or Utah and measures success in inches and shot yardage. We need more guys interested in rabbits and venison IMO.

  20. #20
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    I have my Cow tag and my limit of doe tags in hand this season . This year it's my job to feed three family's so I will do my part with Joy !!
    Thanks Montana !

  21. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieHunter View Post
    I agree completely as if I could go back early in my career I think I would have focused on doe/cow hunts more and been able to hunt some really neat areas as opposed to going primarily the bull/buck route. Then I would have preferred to have a less desirable tag that included horns and now I find myself looking for good cow/doe opportunities on WIHA and looking at freezers to store the meat. The more I learn about food at the supermarket the more I hunt and spend time in the garden.

    There will be more and more "meat" hunting programs in the future as we are already seeing many mainstream shows on Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, etc show hunting from a food perspective as opposed to pretty much all hunting shows which are trophy based. I think this is a good thing and will help animal managers having new types of hunters interested in small game and meat hunting for big game as opposed to another guy in a jacked up truck with lots of stickers, carries a 6.5 creed hot, who dreams of a tag in Arizona or Utah and measures success in inches and shot yardage. We need more guys interested in rabbits and venison IMO.
    I agree with you PH about the meat-hunting shows. One of the things that struck me about the Born and Raised Outdoors "Land of the Free" series was how for the most part they were just trying to fill tags and fill the freezer. Granted, they were all trying to shoot a bull since that's the tags they had in their pockets, but they weren't fixated on size (at least most of them weren't). It was refreshing seeing a show where the guys were just out there doing what I do.....just trying to fill the tag and fill the freezer.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhooper View Post
    Shooting mulie does can be problematic, depending on habitat and mortality, as they do not reproduce like white-tailed deer do. Killing lots of does is the best thing that you can do for a white-tail population. My observations here in this good habitat, is that a young doe will have a single fawn as her first. After that, they usually have twins and many times they have triplets here.

    That is the reason that I always have summertime deer meat in my freezer thanks to depredation permits. There were over 100 deer killed this year within probably three air miles of my house, counting the 20 that we shot last summer. Great habitat makes for a rat-like reproduction rate on them.

    A friend of mine made the statement that he, "would not shoot anything with tits". I had a few choice words for that, but then again, he does not eat the meat, so whatever floats his boat!
    Is it food/habitat limitations that affect mule deer reproduction rates or is it mostly depredation?

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