Back in my early days of Ohio deer hunting it was considered terribly unsportsmanlike to kill a doe.
Bucks were the target almost every time and even when it was legal to take one of the female gender those who did were looked down on as little more than poachers. "Save the females to reproduce more deer" was the motto, but that's definitely changed now with deer populations at an all-time high, and the Division of Wildlife taking near desperate measures to reduce the herd.
There was an estimated population of 675,000 animals before last year's seasons began, up 25,000 despite a record kill in 2006 of 237,316. And next year there will likely be more. Even ordinary citizens are becoming unhappy with the growing population. My sister lives in a Cincinnati suburb well inside the urban zone there, and in a recent phone call said "They're everywhere down here. Last night just before dark over a dozen came walking across our backyard, and there were three this morning at the end of our driveway. We can't plant flower beds or shrubs because they eat them. I wish somebody would do something."
The Division of Wildlife is trying to do something, but it's a juggling act. According to Dave Risley, executive administrator for wildlife research, the problem is not a magic statewide number for the population, but setting proper habitat-based deer densities by region or state. "It depends on what the landscape will support." he said. He noted widespread complaints of deer that have become so abundant that they're regarded as little more than rats with hooves by many home and landowners.