White-tailed deer female fawns often become receptive to breeding when they weigh about 70 pounds. In areas with decent-quality habitat, female fawns often reach this weight during the late deer season. This can be very valuable information to hunters.
Female fawns often feed in the same area daily during the late season, and often go to feeding areas during the late afternoons. They seem to continue this pattern even when they are receptive. Bucks will follow these receptive young does and enter feeding areas well before dark. This can be one of the easiest times to pattern a mature buck because female fawns continue their daily routine, unlike mature does that seem to seek thick cover when they are receptive. In the trail cam video below, it’s a bit difficult to see due to distance, but a buck is chasing female fawns in a late-season food plot.
I’ve used this information many times to fill a buck tag during the late season. I scout food sources specifically for areas where there are lots of fawns feeding. This can be very obvious in areas where there’s been a sizeable doe harvest because orphaned fawns tend to group together.
Finding where one of these fawn groups is feeding is like finding a magnet for bucks. You can watch this strategy used successfully during a hunt when I tagged a buck we called the Trashman (below).
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Editor’s note: Be sure to check out Dr. Grant Woods and his popular on-demand web series that shares current information about deer hunting and deer management. The free videos focus on what the GrowingDeer team of experienced hunters and deer managers are doing in the field week to week, including action-packed hunts, proven hunting strategies, habitat management, food plots, trail camera techniques and the gear it takes to get it all done.
Images and videos by Dr. Grant Woods