Im with red blood. I started killing mature bucks when i quit killing does with firearms. I still shoot them with a bow but not with any kind of gun.
Let me add a little here.
First, I see little difference between killing does with firearms vs. killing them with an arrow. Dead is dead. IMO, one can be more efficient and less disturbing when killing does with firearms, i.e. get it done quicker and be gone. I kill most my does now with a neck shot, and they don't run. Half the time when I shoot, other deer either just stand around wondering about that loud clap of thunder while others frequently run towards me. The gunshot itself is usually little more "scare" to the deer than a deer suddenly taking a death run from an arrow hitting it
Here's what I believe matters most regarding shooting does: TIMING.
It's not so much which weapon you're using, but rather when and how you use it.
I believe it's best to shoot them early, such as during early archery season, the first few days of TN's Nov. muzzleloader season, or post-rut. From a herd-health (biological) standpoint, it's best to shoot the does pre-rut, meaning much of the best "time" is during the archery-only season. If legal, I'd much rather take out the needed does with a firearm during early October. Archery is sometimes the only legal choice with the best "timing".Generally speaking
, I now avoid taking does during the rut peak, which where I do most my hunting is approximately a 2 to 3-week period of about Nov. 5 to 25. My reasoning is that this is the "time" that older bucks are moving most during daylight, and I need to spend as much time "hunting" them as I can, and not lose any of that time to dragging out and/or processing a doe. And of course, there's the issue of "disturbing" the hunting area by tracking and dragging, an issue in itself more than issue of what weapon's being used.
But any time "can" be a great time to take a doe
, even during the rut peak
. Let's say it's a cold November morning, about sunrise, and an estrous doe comes by, providing you a very easy neck shot at 20 yards (with a firearm). It may very well be the best strategy you have for taking a good buck is now dropping that doe in her tracks and remaining on stand. The key is not to blow your opportunity by acting like some of those TV actors on hunting videos, i.e. don't move, don't make any noise. The sound of a single gunshot seldom spooks a buck trailing the doe you just shot
, while there is no better big-buck attractant than a just-killed estrous doe lying in front of your stand
Let me add something about neck shots. I've killed over 50 deer with them, and in the past 20-plus years, have had zero misses, zero failed recoveries with neck shots. I only take them up close
and with a firearm
, and when I'm near 100% certain it's an "easy" shot
. For this, I need "close" and have studied deer behavior enough to know when's the "time" to pull the trigger. When a doe stops walking, and raises her head, she will usually hold it still for at least a couple seconds. A feeding doe will typically flick her tail before raising her head, then holding still for at least a couple seconds. To do this effectively, you must be ready to pull that trigger when the motion stops, crosshairs centered on neck, squeeze trigger. Typically, the deer will simply fall in place and not move anything. Other deer standing around will often walk over to the dead deer, that just fell in its tracks ---- something that almost never happens with a perfectly placed arrow, i.e. the deer runs off, as nearby deer throw up their flags and run away as well.
It's very important to me to only take high-probability kill shots, regardless of the weapon being used, so a neck shot is often not an option. Just saying when it is, it's the least-spooking to other deer, and you won't have to worry about tracking. It also damages the least venison. Unfortunately, necks shots should never be taken with archery equipment. For those who haven't tried this, it's been my experience that a close neck shot with a firearm is usually a higher probability kill than a close-range double-lung shot with a bow.