Late season hunting for whitetails can fun, rugged, cold, plentiful, and many more feelings. One thing it can also bring about is shooting bucks that have already shed their antlers and mistaking them for does.
There are several things you can do to help you shoot the doe you intend and not a shed buck:
- Binoculars: Always carry your binoculars with you and before shooting confirm what the deer is before pulling the trigger. Look for the lack of scabbed pedicels, dark tarsal glands or genitals.
- Body Size: Bucks in general are larger than does. Gauge the size of the deer compared to others. Be skeptical if the deer is alone as during late season does and bucks generally band together.
- Scabbed Pedicels: As mentioned above a shed buck with have either what appears to be blood / raw spots where horns would be or scabbed over spots where horns should be. This again is a perfect opportunity to use your binoculars if you are unsure.
- Tarsal Glands: All deer have them but bucks are usually larger and stained darker than does.
When in doubt don’t shoot! Know your target before pulling the trigger or flinging an arrow!