Doe or Fawn?

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting


During the fall, it can often be difficult to distinguish adult does and fawn deer, particularly if seen alone. In recent years, about 30% of the total antlerless deer harvest has been fawns (5–7 months old), split roughly as 13% doe fawns and 17% buck fawns. Though fawns provide excellent table fare, some hunters prefer to target adult deer. Taking adult female deer contributes to management objectives, and passing buck fawns may allow some of them to be available later as antlered bucks. By learning the differences between antlerless deer, hunters can make more informed harvest choices.

Hunting Tips

  • Button bucks often travel alone, but adult does rarely do. Wait until several antlerless deer are present before making a harvest decision.
  • It is easier to identify sex and age when animals are standing still or moving slowly.
  • Harvest antlerless deer early in the season when differences between fawns and adult does are most noticeable.


  • Body about as long as tall (square)
  • Short neck and compact nose/head
  • Eyes look large for head
  • Doe fawns have a more rounded head shape between their ears
  • Buck fawns’ heads appear flattened and may have visible antler nubs or “buttons”

Adult Doe

  • Body longer than tall (rectangle)
  • Long neck and elongated nose

DEC is Looking for “Citizen Scientists” to Help Monitor Wildlife Populations

There are several surveys where hunters can record their wildlife observations while afield. Visit the DEC website to learn more about opportunities to help us track deer, turkeys, grouse, and more!

  • Bowhunter Sighting Log
  • Grouse and Woodcock Hunting Log
  • Grouse Drumming Survey
  • Summer Turkey Sighting Survey
  • New England Cottontail Survey
  • Furbearer Observations
  • Moose Observations



Hunt Safe — Hunt Smart

STAY CONNECTED from the time you leave the ground to the time you get back down.

RETURN SAFELY to your family.