Late Season Does Can Bring Unintended Consquences


Late season is usually the time when hunters try and fill their last tag or go out and shoot a doe to fill the freezer. But that late season doe can hold a few surprises.

I was hunting the opening day of Ohio’s muzzleloader season. I wanted to get a little more meat for the freezer and close the season out right. It was bitterly cold that morning; the temperature hung around 3 degrees. I headed in a little earlier than normal, I met my brother and cousin and headed up the hill to our cabin.

As we reached a spot where two logging roads came together my brother spotted a doe at the top of the other road about 80 yards away. He knew I was hurting for meat so he let me take the shot. My Thompson Center barked and when the smoke cleared the deer was nowhere to be seen.

I headed up to where I had shot and found a few drops of blood. It was easy tracking because of the snow. I followed her tracks seeing little splatters of blood. She ran about 40 yards and piled up in a small patch of brush. She was a really big doe in fact I check to make sure she was not a buck that had already dropped its antlers.


So far everything seemed normal until I started field dressing her. Inside I found she was pregnant with triplets, three little deer that will never be.

It should not be that surprising. Deer breed in early November and by early January the babies are about the size of a mouse. So unlike pregnant does killed a month earlier, the fawns are noticeable.


I have heard hunters say that that is the reason they do not shoot late season does. They do not want to wipe out the next generation. Although I understand where they are coming from logically it would not matter when the doe was killed, if I killed her in early season, the rut, or even gun season. She still would not have had these fawns. In fact any doe you kill after the rut will more than likely be pregnant.

It is sad because I know I took four lives with one shot. But that is hunting and things like this will happen when you take responsibility for your meat. I do not regret the shot or the kill. It is part of hunting that one must except.