It’s a well know fact of waterfowl science that hens have a much higher mortality then drakes,mostly due to nest predation. So my feeling is if you can avoid them then why not do so. I love to argue the compensatory vs additive argument. For those of you not familiar with it. Here it is in a basic nut shell.
Compensatory= shooting them will have no effect on the population of the species because some % are going to die anyway.
Additive= Additional mortality will have an impact on the population due to low populations, or other factors than are influencing the species
Most waterfowl bag limits are based on the assumption of compensatory mortality and rightly so. Some are going to die anyway. However, the fact remains if you shoot them there is no chance they will be able to breed in the spring.
Note-What I am about to spout off about deals only with easily identified hen waterfowl i.e. mallards, pintail, teal and divers. Gads and widgeon while identifiable can be difficult under normal conditions. I shoot 6-10 of these a year by mistake.
Ok here are my feelings on the subject. I have no problem with shooting an intentional hen once in while. I shot one yesterday in fact. However it was the first intential hen I have shot in several years. I dont count accidental hens they happen. I think beginners should shoot anything they want. But IF you can avoid shooting a hen its better waterfowl management in the long term to avoid them. I dont think as a rule we should shoot 2 hens just to fill a limit. This always holds true-
DEAD HENS DONT LAY EGGS!