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I was just wondering what thoughts were on this one...

I saw a doe on Saturday while I was bowhunting, and she was limping pretty badly on her right front leg. She would put weight on it, but not much. Her right shoulder was pretty badly atrophied, and through bino's at about 100 yards (7x glasses), I could pretty readily see all the bones in her shoulder. Her hips showed/had "hollows" in front of them. Her ribs weren't showing. She was feeding and acting very much like a normal, alert, adult doe. She got down wind of me and winded me slightly and was nervous and carefully moved off in the way any normal deer would.

She was never anywhere close enough for a shot.

What are your thoughts on a doe like this? She doesn't appear sick to me. My guess would be she got dinged by a car at some point.

I'm wondering if she'll recover and survive or if she's going to continue to wither. I guess it's impossible to tell....I hate to let her walk if I have a chance to end her suffering if it's truly going to come to a bad ending for her anyway. On the other hand, if there's a chance of her rebounding, I don't really want to put an arrow in her.

Thoughts?
 

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Tough call there. Deer are tough animals that can rebound from injury. I believe it was this site that had pics of wounds that looked terrible to unbelievably heal and the deer seemed pretty much just fine. The only part that has me wondering is you mentioned how skinny she is now, when she needs to be plumping up for the winter. Perhaps you'll see her on future outings and you can see if she looks better or worse and make the call based on that...
 

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CWD ?
 

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I doubt an illness is at work, unless I see her acting weird later on. She is acting like a completely cogent, normal adult doe.

browninggold, I think you make a good point-- seeing her later on and seeing how she's done in the intervening time will help out. If she seems to be improving, I think she gets a pass. If she's declining, there's my answer.
 

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no one wants to see suffering as animals and most hunters would put an animal down before seeing it suffer...Being a farm kid we had put down some of our best animals and pets for better or worse..
 

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I took a young buck in MO one year during muzzleloader season like the doe you saw. Did not know it was a buck until I shot it. It had shed it's rack already. Figured out why later. When we skinned it out we found the right shoulder completely atrophied. Also the "elbow" had a slightly greenish swelling/knot. Figured some poacher had shot it in the leg with a small caliber rifle in the summer or previous winter. It suffered a bit but seemed onto a complete recovery. Did not notice any limping when I jumped it and it ran before stopped, when I shot it. We figured the rack dropped early due to his system still being stressed a bit though. Could tell one side dropped off the day before and the other one late that night or early morning before I shot it (still pink and just glazed over).

Tough lil buggers
 

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Green is not good,even a little bit.I shot a heavy horned 6 pt one year in Maryland during late BP. Saw it had a puncture wound in the back and did have a bit of a smell.Because it looked healthy and strong I thought it would be ok.Took it to the butcher and a couple days later he called me to tell me the whole back of the deer was gangreen and he dumped it.Last year my son shot a nice 6X6 Elk in New Mexico. After the shot the Elk staggered off a small cliff. When they got it up they saw it had an injury to a back hoof but not sure if it happened during the fall. Turns out he lost half that elk due to the infection from the hoof injury traveling. The injury was old and badly infected but the Elk was heavy and acting fine.It was bugleing all the way in. I will never chance less than perfect meat.
 

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I would put her down if I had the chance. I've seen this go both ways. I shot a small 6pt a few years ago that had a really bad limp and his foot was dragging. I put him down knowing that he may be spoiled. Luckily it must've just been a deformity or an old injury. His rack was weird on the opposite side of his body.
 

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The best thing, and the only legal thing, to do is to leave them alone or call the Game Commission for their recommendation on how to handle it.

Unless a deer is down and unable to get up the best thing to do is allow nature to deal with it as nature does. A high percentage of the injuries will heal just fine if left alone. I saw many, many deer with only three legs that were living perfectly healthy lives, with bucks eventually growing great antlers or does producing twin fawns.

If they are harvested soon after an injury the meat might have infection and shouldn't be eaten, but there is a process for hunters in that situation to get new tag. But, given time even the infection generally clears up and the meat will be just fine.

It actually got to the point I never put injured bears down unless they had a broken back. I would drag them into a secluded spot and keep an eye on them until they either died or got up and left. If they make it through their first night, without dying they didn't have internal injuries and every one them eventually got up and left, though in a few cases it took a couple weeks for then to recover enough to leave. I would put food and water out for them and in a few cases even put some stitches and antibiotics in them when I tranquilized, tagged and removed the tooth for aging. A couple of them were later harvested and I called the hunter to ask about the condition of the bear when they harvested it. None of them had any idea there had ever even been an injury, even though the bear's condition had been what appeared to be close to death for perhaps two or three weeks just months earlier.

Leave them alone, and let nature deal with it. Wildlife are a lot more resilient than most people would ever believe.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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RSB, you have very interesting information in your posts.

If you kept a diary/journal it could be the material for a interesting book. If no diary it would make some interesting posts on huntingpa about your experiences.

I am sure it would be enjoyable reading and we could learn a different side of wildlife.

Continue to enjoy the outdoors. As Manny Gordon, a district forester in NE PA, use to say "Enjoy, Enjoy".

Dean Conklin

"The Struggle Continues"
 

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Post like this separate true sportsman from straight up thrill killers. Just your thought of managing her pain tells us what kind of sportsman you truely are. I would put her down and waste my tag if I had to, its the right thing to do! Cheers to you, and good luck with making this tough decision.
 
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