Shooting a fawn. Any "good" reason?

So, it’s deer hunting season. One of our weekend activities now is hiking in the woods with shovels, burying any gut piles we happen across. The goal is to stop our dogs from consuming parts of the gut piles, then coming home and vomiting all over the house.

Sunday we found a dead fawn, shot once through the chest and left to rot.

In an attempt to understand this, I’m wondering if there is any logical reason for this? Is a late season fawn unlikely to survive the winter? Is it possible this was a humane act, or just some dickhead doing what dickheads do?

I’m not a hunter. I envision at least three possibilities:

  1. dickhead killing for the sake of killing, possibly frustrated because he couldn’t bag a big buck instead.

  2. dickhead shooting without definitively knowing his target. Hikers occasionally get shot during deer season - sometimes even when they’re wearing blaze orange.

  3. mercy killing. If the fawn’s mom had been killed, hunter may have also shot the fawn just to prevent a slow, suffering death.

It’s buck season. A hunter should ID his/her target anyway, but during buck season antlers of specific size need to be ID’d.

Doe season started on Saturday, so it’s both buck and doe season.

Question for the OP: does the “fawn” have spots, or is it all brown? I ask because if you see an all-brown antlerless deer standing all by itself, you can’t easily tell the age or size since there are no other deer to compare size with.

I’m curious, why are you wandering around the woods during deer season? Do you wear blaze orange? Are your dogs wearing blaze orange? Are your dogs on a leash? Are you trying to disrupt the hunt?

I’m pretty sure he stated why, very clearly, in the OP.

I can think of two non-dickhead reasons for shooting a fawn.

  1. I bet they are very good eating. (I have no idea whether it is legal to take a fawn, but shooting an animal for food doesn’t seem like a disckhead move, whether or not it is legal.)

  2. You mistook it for some other deer, like a doe. As someone else said, it can be hard to judge the size of an animal in the distance, and a brown fawn doesn’t look very different from a doe, other than size.

My guess is that this particular fawn was shot by someone who just thought it would be fun to kill the cute little animal, though.

Burying gut piles is one thing, but the timing is questionable. Taking a stroll, or walking your dogs, thru the woods during deer hunting season seems inherently dangerous what with buckshot, slugs, bullets, and arrows seeking a target. Accidents happen.

I would hope that kayaker is restricting his jaunts to posted land. For safety sake.

We were “wandering around” our property and properties adjacent to ours on which we have permission to “wander”. And it was on Sunday, when hunting deer and most small game is not permitted in PA.

Disrupting the hunt? On our posted property? Pshaw.

I was not wearing blaze orange, however my gf does (ironically) and our tan colored dogs wear vests.

BTW, we love venison and have a friend who gives us one of his deer most years. The last time we allowed a hunter to hunt on our land, all we asked was that he either bury or bag and take the gut pile. He was so excited that he forgot. He ruined it for any one else.

I love lamb and veal, and have often wondered about young venison, but it was left to rot. And it was very young, not mistakable, spots and all.

If it still had spots, then it should not have been mistaken for a larger doe. Even though it might not be able to make it through the winter, that is no reason to shoot it. It might have fallen victim to a coyote or bear anyway if left to fend for itself over winter, but that’s no excuse to kill it wantonly, especially just to leave the carcass behind. People do stupid and strange things.

Wabbit season!

Yeah, just seeing the title I thought “well, if it had been hit by a car and was suffering…” but obviously that’s not the case.

Someone may have shot the mother not knowing it had fawns and then humanely killed the fawns. They should have harvested the fawn for its meat as well. Most hunters I know will not knowingly kill a doe with fawns but mistakes are not unusual.

Would you like to shoot him now, or take him home and shoot him?

I have friends who one year got “anterless deer licenses” in Michigan a.k.a. “doe licenses” and wound up getting two young deer, which might be described as “older fawns”, one male one female. I just want to emphasize these were legally obtained immature deer.

VERY tasty, very tender, suitable for grilling as steaks. Yes, young animals are generally very good eating.

Your implication seems to be that during hunting season, the onus is on hikers not to get shot, not on hunters not to shoot hikers. Is that what you mean?

“Safety first” is my motto. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of “city kids” who peruse these threads and they may not understand the actual dangers and concerns of hunting season. I thought it was worth exploring.

I assume you found the fawn on your posted property. Are PA hunters allowed to recover wounded game on posted property without first getting permission from the landowner? Do you include your phone number on your posted signs (not really a great idea) or do hunters have to check county files to identify the owner? Checking plats takes time and the meat is not getting any fresher. Could it be that the fawn was shot elsewhere, ran on to your property, and the hunter considered the deer lost?

I understand that some PA deer hunters have an “if it’s brown, it’s down” attitude but I’m not aware of rampant trespassing.

The “onus”? Hunters understand that hunting involves bullets and arrows. They also understand that accidents happen and do their best to avoid hurting others or injuring themselves. Hikers generally have some idea what hunting season means and dress and act accordingly but it’s best to avoid the area during (insert tasty game name here) season.

Most non-woods folks have no idea what the regulations and rules are, and might lack common courtesy and common sense.

The fawn was found on a neighbor’s property (adjacent and near to ours). They allow hunting on their land for a number of reasons. No, we do not have our phone number on our Posted signs. The fawn did not run. I examined its entry and exit wounds; it’s chest was blown out.

Years ago we had a hunter knock on the door because a deer he hit with an arrow had run onto our land. We walked with him as he tracked it onto our property and off of it again. I don’t know if he ever found it.