Quality Deer Management Association
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Natural Resources Commission March 8, 2000
PO Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909
Subject: Statewide Fawn/Button Buck Proposal / Clarification and Other Factors
Good afternoon. My name is Boyd Wiltse and I thank you for giving me this opportunity to address the Commission.
short-term, and many hunters may stop harvesting "does", especially if a more natural deer herd with better balance in sex ratios is not accomplished.
We believe there's a need to emphasize both "bucks" and "does" in the deer hunting regulations. And that counting "fawn bucks" the same as a "legal antlered buck" has overwhelming hunter support, and will help protect young bucks, while acting as a great hunter educational aid.
- Majority of deer hunters are dissatisfied with poor buck/doe ratios and a lack of mature bucks.
- We agree with the DNR's objective and use of "antlerless licenses" to bring the deer population into better balance with habitat; however, we have concern that the current progress in meeting this objective may only be
In the interest of sound deer management, herd improvement, and hunter education, the Michigan Branches of the Quality Deer Management Association make the following proposal:
see attached thought starters).
- Modify current deer hunting regulations by classifying any fawn buck (commonly referred to as a button buck) the same as a "legal antlered buck". They would no longer be classified as an "antlerless" deer.
- Hunter(s) would be required to use a buck tag for any fawn buck harvested.
- Option: Hunter(s) harvesting a fawn buck and not having an unused buck tag would be required to use their "anterless license".
- Option: Hunter(s) harvesting a fawn buck and not having an unused buck tag would be required to purchase a "special fawn buck license".
- Option: Hunter(s) harvesting a fawn buck and not having an unused buck tag would be required to "contact the DNR for further instructions".
- Option: Hunter(s) harvesting a fawn buck and not having an unused buck tag would be required to "............................................................................".
- No hunter penalties.
- It is recommended that a section be included in the antlerless instructions on identification of adult does and fawn bucks (
In addition to improving the deer herd structure, the above deer hunting regulation change would act as a great hunter educational aid, resulting in more careful identification of deer by hunters prior to shooting, and improved hunter satisfaction.
Boyd Wiltse, Secretary Mid-Michigan Branch QDMAbwiltse@123.net ; Website: http://www.qdma.net/
10365 Winding Valley Rd.
Brighton, MI 48116-8840
810) 231-95690; E-mail:
Identification of Fawns and Adult Does
Buck fawns are generally larger than doe fawns and towards the end of the December hunting season are somewhat difficult to distinguish from a yearling doe. Some general tips to harvest a doe and to avoid harvesting a buck fawn include:
- Don't harvest an antlerless deer that appears alone. Does rarely travel alone.
- Wait until several deer are together and then look for obvious size differences.
- Later in the hunting season, it is not uncommon for "orphaned" twin fawns to feed in food plots. Probability dictates one's a buck and one's a doe. In this situation, it is easy to mistake the buck fawn for an adult doe, since it is normally larger than the doe fawn.
- Close inspection with binoculars looking for pedicles or antler bases (particularly from the side view) helps avoid harvesting the nubbin buck.
- Pay attention to obvious fawns throughout the season, look for indications of pedicle development, body shape, etc.
- Watch the behavior of deer. Fawns are playful, curious, and not as cautious as adult does.
- Don't wait until you're ready to harvest a doe to look for differences.
- Don't harvest deer with short snouts.
- Look for "wear and tear" signs that typify mature does (for example, ears that appear too short for the head, a swayed back, and sagging belly).
- The snout of an adult doe is relatively longer than a fawn's.
- An adult doe's body is rectangular shaped, while a fawn's body is square shaped.
- And especially important, if you're not sure, wait to harvest an animal when you can make a more positive identification.
Note: The above tips are included in a publication available through the QDMA.
Web Page Contact: Boyd Wiltse, Secretary Mid-Michigan Branch QDMA
Page Updated: April 22, 2000
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