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-   -   What is the right thing to do? (https://www.huntingnet.com/forum/whitetail-deer-hunting/372667-what-right-thing-do.html)

AquamanPSD 09-18-2012 08:15 AM

What is the right thing to do?
 
I was sitting this past sunday on a farm that I leased strickly for hunting. I was by myself hunting and it is roughly 1 and a half hours away from my house or any one that would come help me get a deer out. The farm is in the eastern part of KY where it is extremely rough terrain to deer hunt and impossible to get around without a 4 wheeler. I had arrangments that if I killed a buck I had two guys that were going to come help me get it out. I was only hunting for a buck this time.

Anyway, around dark I had a doe come in that was ROUGH. she was completely gray with bald patches on her back. by far the biggest and oldest doe I have ever seen in my life. He front right leg was gimpy and she had no use what so ever in that leg. No visible injury. She had two yearlings with her which surprised me. Its obvious to me that she will not make it through the winter. She fell on her face twice while infront of me. I was met with a moral dilemma. Do I shoot her as a mercy killing knowing that she won't make it through the winter even though I will almost certainly not be able to retrive her by myself, or do I let her go knowing she will starve or freeze to death in a couple months? I ended up not shooting her and letting her walk but the scenario has been bothering me ever since. What would you guys do? Did i do the right thing? I absolutly HATE watching injured animals so that is why it bothers me so much.

furgitter 09-18-2012 08:30 AM

Animals get sick, hit by cars, beat up by other animals every day, all over the world. Not all injuries are imediately fatal. These are facts you know are true. Deep down inside, you know you did the right thing by not shooting her. In the days she has left she can teach her fawns allot of lessons in survival. Who knows? she may even survive the winter. I have seen many 3 legged deer make it more than a year after the injury.

vapahunter 09-18-2012 08:31 AM

Only you can answer that question for your own situation. Did the fawns look like they were old/large enough to survive on their own? I think I would have went ahead and shot her if it looked like the fawns could have survived. If not then I would have done what you did and at least give the fawns a chance. By it being on your mind I can see you still have a concern for the doe and her condition. That is a good thing.

Schobs 09-18-2012 08:34 AM

Putting myself in your shoes, not be able to get the deer out and use the meat, I would've done exactly what you did, not shoot. I personally feel like I would feel worse for killing an animal and not being able to get it out of the woods or use the meat than I would for letting nature take its course. If there was no visible sign of injury, it could be an old one that she's been dealing with for a while, and if she had yearlings (fawns, or last year's offspring) with her, she might very well be coping with it just fine.

I think you did the right thing, and I would've done the same.

AquamanPSD 09-18-2012 08:51 AM

The fawns were out of spots and eating on their own. I couldn't see anything that lead me to believe she was still or even could nurse. They were even starting to wonder off and they would get a couple hundred yards away and then start bawling and come running back. I'm pretty sure they could have survived but that was definitely ran through my head at the time.

HatchieLuvr 09-18-2012 09:26 AM


Originally Posted by furgitter (Post 3979193)
Animals get sick, hit by cars, beat up by other animals every day, all over the world. Not all injuries are imediately fatal. These are facts you know are true. Deep down inside, you know you did the right thing by not shooting her. In the days she has left she can teach her fawns allot of lessons in survival. Who knows? she may even survive the winter. I have seen many 3 legged deer make it more than a year after the injury.

x2! Deer (and really most wild critters for that matter) are really ALOT tougher and more adaptable than we "caring humans" realize. Mother Nature can be a cruel beyotch and the fact that the ol nag was still gettin around and motherin twins speaks for her toughness. I bet you'll see her around again. Deer are mighty mighty tough, the will to live is just far more than most of us can comprehend. I wouldn't let it bother you one more second.

Mojotex 09-18-2012 02:55 PM

I'd feel for her, but in your case I'd pass. It is impossible in my book to know if a critter such as this one is OK, just weak, or sick and will get over it ... she just might make it. And if not it's nature's way and her meat will feed woods critters. By now her yearlings should be OK to make it on their own.

Now if it was legal to take the doe and I was going to use the meat, she's groceries.

furgitter 09-18-2012 05:52 PM


Originally Posted by Mojotex (Post 3979382)
I'd feel for her, but in your case I'd pass. It is impossible in my book to know if a critter such as this one is OK, just weak, or sick and will get over it ... she just might make it. And if not it's nature's way and her meat will feed woods critters. By now her yearlings should be OK to make it on their own.

Now if it was legal to take the doe and I was going to use the meat, she's groceries.

My take on it too! I like the taste of some early season Veni! We get alot of tags here for does sometimes for herd control, and I try to fill all I can buy.

nodog 09-18-2012 09:26 PM

I'd let it walk.

The Outdoorsman 09-19-2012 09:12 AM

Like its been already said, let nature take its course. I'd feel worse for shooting a deer or any animal knowing I wouldnt be able to recover it such as in your case. Healthy and unhealthy deer/animals are taken by predators every day so its gonna happen eventually. If this is bothering you, I think putting her down and not even trying to recover her due to the terrain and such would bother you far more cause you "just left a kill" in the woods. You did the right thing by letting her walk.

scottycoyote 09-19-2012 09:31 AM

i think you did the right thing, id have let her walk

NorthJeff 09-19-2012 10:17 AM

If legal...I would have shot her, cut her up where she lay...and packed her out. W/O a framepack, you can use 2 good trash bags with the same amount of de-boned meat in both side, tie them together and carry over your shoulders like a yoke. Even a mature doe will be most likely less than 50#s of deboned meat...even 2 trips wouldn't be bad.

You start by cutting off her legs at the knee. Place her on her belly and cut her back of head to tail. Work on 1 side while you kneel at her belly. Pull the hide towards you so the rear is uncovered...the loins, neck, front shoulders. Chunk out the meat and put it in a bag. Take as much time as you need to clean the bones as much as you want...

Do the same to the other side and then reach in when you are finished and pull out the inner loins.

You never gut her...leave her where she lays and bring the head out if you need to tag something. Of course this is if legal in the state of KY;)

Just some thoughts though...you didn't do anything wrong, it was a tough call either way. Maybe you will see her again?

AquamanPSD 09-19-2012 10:58 AM

I did think about this. When its warmer out sometimes we will just quarter them they same way we quarter cows. cut off the legs with all the roast and shoulder meat cut out the straps and neck meat. Honestly the thought of tracking by myself in the dark in that area, lots of illegal crop growth, meth labs, copperheads, timber rattlers and the occasional bear, kinda made me think twice about that.

NorthJeff 09-19-2012 01:02 PM


Originally Posted by AquamanPSD (Post 3979811)
I did think about this. When its warmer out sometimes we will just quarter them they same way we quarter cows. cut off the legs with all the roast and shoulder meat cut out the straps and neck meat. Honestly the thought of tracking by myself in the dark in that area, lots of illegal crop growth, meth labs, copperheads, timber rattlers and the occasional bear, kinda made me think twice about that.

You can have those snakes!!

Tundra10 09-19-2012 10:34 PM


Originally Posted by Mojotex (Post 3979382)
I'd feel for her, but in your case I'd pass.

ditto .

mortalcare 09-23-2012 03:08 PM

Nature will take care of her. some animal will most likely get a yummy meal before she starves or freezes

Kid 09-24-2012 02:25 PM

I agree with letting nature take it's course.

fastetti 09-24-2012 03:31 PM

I've been in the same scenario and passed but it was tough. I had a doe that was skin and bones, broken leg and you could tell she wasn't going to make it long. I sat their thinking if I should put her out of her misery but passed. You could tell she had no muscle left and wouldn't have any meat on her. I let her stumble away but it hurt to know she would continue to suffer when I had the chance to end it for her.

Seif5034 09-25-2012 05:08 PM

Personally, I'd let her go. She'll feed some other predator or scavenger. (buzzards, coyotes)


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