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Discussion Starter #1
(Let me first make it clear this post is a serious question. I am not questioning anyones choice to shoot small deer.)


I grew up and hunted deer my entire life in Dutchess County, New York. This will be my second season hunting in New Jersey.....

As I look at the pictures on this board of the many Does shot this season I am absolutely astounded at the average size of these deer. It appears that the "average" size of the does shoot by members of this board is less then half the average size of the does that I see taken by myself and friends in NY.

That leads to me to my questions...

Are Does in New Jersey really that small?

Are most of the pictures really of Fawns and they are being called Does?

When shooting deer that small, the likely hood of shooting button bucks is very high, is that issue taken into consideration by the hunters taking these deer?

How much edible meat is actual rendered off a deer of that size? In my experience the ratio of usable meat to the size of the animal is very low when discussing "small" deer compared to a "normal" mature deer.

Is the answer to this question.. "the state makes Me"?

OR....Are NJ deer really that small?


(Please lets keep this post civil, only respond if you have something constructive to add...JC...)
 

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The quick answer is yes.

I grew up hunting Clinton county NY, and does were average 130-160 lbs. I would saw the average 2-3 year old doe in NJ only goes 70-100 lbs.

Others agree???

-dan
 

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The Average doe is 80 lbs and the average buck (harvested) is 114. I don't recall where I read this but I read it last year somewhere.
 

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I would like to respond... First when we look at immature deer or deer born in the spring there are a few things that need to be considered. Every single doe is not bred during their first "heat cycle". When the doe is bred will dictate when she gives birth. Does bred early will give birth early giving the fawn more time to grow and vice versa. Also many fawns come into heat at the end of the rut and they too are bred. When you have immature deer giving birth very late in the spring it will probably meen that particular fawn will be at the bottom end of the "average" weight scale.
Also if you remember correctly winter lingered around well into early april last year. Pregnant does were severely stressed under those conditions.
In regards to the button buck comment... any archer that has a few seasons under his belt knows that at archery distances in the early season "buttons" or "nubs" are clearly evident.
I hunt the same property year in and year out so I choose to avoid shooting them.
I can't find fault with any one who chooses to harvest these animals.
I will say in my humble opinion that the meat of a deer that is 4-8 months old is some of the finest meat this VENISONEATR has ever sank his teeth into :D:D
 

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I hunt private land in Zone 2 and I have some 130 140lb Does on there maybe some bigger. I try to shoot the larger ones and give the little ones a chance. But I would have to say it is the Hunters choice as to what he/she shoots. I have shot a couple small ones in the past but now a days I try to take the larger Does. Or the Nicer Bucks. NJ does have allot of small Deer though I see more small then large. I think all the extended seasons and antlerless restrictions are the cause. I am seeing fewer and fewer Deer every year I know that is the point of the antlerless hunts but I think it should be re-looked at and Managed a little better.

Good Post thanks JC. and I agree keep it civil this post is not knocking anyone just looking for answers.[up]
 

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Please lets keep this post civil, only respond if you have something constructive to add...JC
Wow, the last time this came up there was a firestorm !!
Compared to other states, yes Jersey deer are on the average smaller. Whether it genetics or nutrition they seem to be smaller. Yes there are big bodied deer here, I've taken 160 - 180 pound bucks here on the farm, but then again all year long they are feeding on corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and carrots. Kinda like farm raised. But in the Jersey pines what are they eating? Pine needles and oak leaves ? The doe I shot last week weighed 60lbs., and according to her teeth, she was appox. 3yrs. old. Three years ago I took a nice racked 10 pointer in the pines that only weighed 87 lbs. and was 4 yrs. old. I personally won't shoot any young deer because there's better than a 50-50 chance that it will be a button buck. But then again I have stands that I can see 15 - 20 deer at a time. So I can pick and choose my targets. But everyone has to make their own decision as to what their harvest will be. My rule is: If the nose is Short, do not SHOOT . The little guys ( this years ) tend to have short roundish heads, so even after they lose their spots, you can still tell who's who. We call the " FUZZY HEADS "
 

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there is Absolutely NO WAY they average harvested buck is 150 lbs,unless they are talking live weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You make some great points Venison,


I would like to respond... First when we look at immature deer or deer born in the spring there are a few things that need to be considered. Every single doe is not bred during their first "heat cycle". When the doe is bred will dictate when she gives birth. Does bred early will give birth early giving the fawn more time to grow and vice versa. Also many fawns come into heat at the end of the rut and they too are bred. When you have immature deer giving birth very late in the spring it will probably meen that particular fawn will be at the bottom end of the "average" weight scale.
This is true in every state, not just NJ....



In regards to the button buck comment... any archer that has a few seasons under his belt knows that at archery distances in the early season "buttons" or "nubs" are clearly evident.
I understand that it may be evident. I was asking if most shooters cared.
I see you do...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
DBUCK,

LOL...they are biologists, not hunters.

Unlike us, they prefer to discuss....LIVING ANIMALS!
 

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I deer hunt in the Catskill Mountains, Delaware County, on state land during the rifle season and have been averaging 50% success (Bucks Only) over the last 6 seasons. A few years back I shot a 1.5 year old spike the last week of the season. When I dropped him off at the butcher there were 4 NJ bucks including a nice 140 cl [no swearing please] 10 point. My spike was much larger than all those deer. The hoofs were almost double the size. I also use a butcher in PA and 2 years ago took in a 212# 10 point from NY. At the same time there were two deer from Maine that looked like horses and made my big buck look small..
 

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hey there are still some big deer in nj.. i shot a doe two years ago that dressed 134 pounds. and my dad shot a 2 1/2 year old 8 point a few years back that dressed 175 pounds. not saying that thats our average size deer but the are out there. you have to remember also that an average deer taken in nj isnt over 1 1/2 years old, so that plays a big part in deer size aswell..

i just find it astounding the difference in deer size from deer taken in the north western part of nj and the pine barrens. im sure a 3 1/2 year old deer in north western nj will probably dress out about 150 pounds, but seems like the same age cl [no swearing please] deer taken in the pine barrens will only dress out at about 100 pounds. im saying this bc a freind of mine shot a 120in 10 point in tuckerton last year in late october and it only weighed in at 94 pounds..

it just goes to show you that food and climate make a huge differnce in how big a deer gets.
 

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I shot a doe that wieghed 135lbs 10 years ago out of morris county Randolph. I have also got a couple from Zone 2 that went 130-140. I have big Does on my property.
 

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Depends on where you hunt what size deer there are.Here in NJ,I've killed 3 does over 140 dressed and my biggest buck dressed at 205 lbs.
 

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I agree that the size of a deer shot in some areas is not a result of bad hunter ethics or the fever for the flavor of the vennison. It can be the same way in Texas, just depends on where you hunt, South Texas has some monster bucks...many area in the western part of the state have mini-me bucks..etc. It all depends on the protien available. As far as how 3-4 month olds .. he's right less filling taste great!! lol Friend accidentally shot a very young deer near dark ( sad to say the spots were barely gone) without thinking he judged the size of the deer against the wrong mark on the feeder leg and though it was much bigger! Shoulda seen the look of embarrasment as he dragged ( with one hank) this thing into camp and hung it next to my brothers buck.. what a sight...we felt sorry for it at first..then after it we took the backstraps and cooked them up about a week later...ohhhh my god did we feel reallllllyyyy goood!!! lol
 
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