I like antlers as much as the next guy but when I hear someone putting too much emphasis on large bucks or bulls, I can’t help but think that the does and cows are getting a bad rap on many levels.
For example, I have lost count of how many times a cagey old whitetail doe has busted me and prevented me from shooting a buck. Same with cow elk and cow moose. I even had a cow caribou spook once when she spotted me and when she bolted so did the Caribou bull that was following her. The reverse has rarely been an issue. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I was trying to shoot a doe or cow and a bull or buck ruined it. Coincidence? I think not. My theory is that it’s often much more difficult to harvest a mature doe or cow then a male anything.
Therefore, it’s my opinion that bow hunters that are efficient enough to consistently harvest does and cows are better hunters.
I have not reached this conclusion without a lot of research. Here are some of the facts that I have compiled on the subject.
FACT- It is the female Whitetail, Mule deer, Elk, Moose, Caribou to name a few that raise the young fawns or calves. So, it’s the female that teaches the young to survive and how to avoid predators. Every single male animal learned these skills from his mother.
FACT- Females are smarter than males. This is true in every species including our own. To prove this, if you’re a male and married or have a girlfriend just ask them if you are the smartest one in the relationship. After they are done laughing, they will back my research by explaining why you are not. If you are reading this and are a female and have either a husband or a boyfriend my research indicates that you will undoubtedly agree with me. If you don’t identify yourself as male or female…. I don’t have any research on you.
FACT- For the table, does and cows are usually tenderer and taste better then bucks or bulls. Even more so during the rut when the males are run down and taste more gamey.
If egos are put aside. I’m sure if you don’t already agree with me, you are probably on the verge of switching your whole mindset on what trophies baldies are.
If I have not swayed you yet here is some additional information, I have researched that you should consider. This should help convince any skeptics.
Just consider all the scents on the market. Conquest, Tink's, Wildlife Research, Hunter Specialty to name a few of my favorites. All have scents. These scents are all designed to bring in the male species. There are female scents that are used to bring in males and there are also male scents and gland lures that are used to bring in the bucks and bulls. Does and cows only occasionally come into scent, but I have had bucks and bulls lick and even urinate in areas that I have used scent in. If that’s not proof enough of how much smarter the female species are then consider decoys. There are whitetail decoys that look just like both doe and buck whitetails. Does generally ignore them but I have had bucks not only come in to fight a fake buck decoy, but I have had them knock over doe decoys trying to breed them. I can honestly say I have NEVER seen a doe try and breed a buck decoy.
Elk and moose decoys…same story. Cows may look at them but rarely approach. Whereas I have had bull elk run right up to my Montana elk decoy and it’s only one dimensional!
I am confident if you consider the facts, you will agree that the female game species are much more challenging to hunt and therefore a better trophy. They also taste better and are rarely fooled by scents or artificial decoys compared to the males.
I hope in the future I will not hear as many people boasting about the large buck or bull they harvested and hope to hear more stories and read more articles about trophy does or cows.
- Fred Eichler