Does Buck to Doe Ratio Matter? (2024)

Does Buck to Doe Ratio Matter? (1)

It’s official: Hunting season is open in Minnesota! So, before you venture out into the woods, you might be wondering: does the buck to doe ratio really matter? You can have a successful season no matter what the ratio is, but an “ideal” ratio is as close to a 1:1 ratio as possible. The importance of the ratio of bucks to does can also depend on where you live. If you live somewhere where it’s legal to hunt does, then the ratio doesn’t matter quite as much as it does in a bucks-only hunting area.

Ideal Ratio

If you live in an area that allows hunters to hunt bucks and does, then the ratio isn’t as important because you’ll hunt both at some point anyway. But if you live in an area that’s bucks-only, you’ll want as close to that ideal ratio of 1:1 as possible. With an even number of bucks and does, the rut season won’t be quite as chaotic. The more bucks there are, the higher the competition between the bucks will be for the few does in the area. And when a buck has to search or fight to find a doe, they’ll have to cover more ground meaning it might be harder to pinpoint where they’ll be. If the buck to doe ratio is fairly even, the bucks can stay where they’re at and mate with the does in the area, rather than having to search for them.

How to Encourage an Even Herd

One way to encourage bucks and does to your property is to provide a food source like our Feedbank Gravity Feeders. If you put one of our feeders out on your property, the entire herd can benefit from the supplemental feed and will likely begin to frequent your property throughout the fall and well into the winter months. Supplemental feeding is not legal in all counties, so make sure you check your state’s regulations to make sure it’s legal before you put out your feeder.

Bucks and does will both visit a deer feeder, though they might take different routes to get there. A mature buck has learned to be more cautious, so it likely won’t feed very far from the bedding area but it will take a long and winding route to get there. Does and young bucks will take a more direct route. So, if you have a deer feeder near the deer herd’s bedding area, you’ll likely encourage both bucks and does to visit your property. Whether the deer make the bedding area after they see your feeder, or you set up the deer feeder after you find a bedding area, the entire herd should gravitate to that nearby food offering.

While you can harvest a deer no matter what the buck to doe ratio is, having an even herd might help you during rut season. The rut season will still make the bucks crazy and will draw them out more often than normal during daytime hours, but if the amount of does matches, they won’t have to travel very far. So, you could get the benefit of their daytime behavior without having to chase them for miles as they chase the does. Whatever the ratio in your area is we hope you enjoy the new season!

Do you take buck to doe ratio into account? Do you think there’s an ideal ratio? Let us know in the comments!

Does Buck to Doe Ratio Matter? (2024)
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