Dave, good article on the crop damage shooting. We do a fair bit of that here too. I agree, it's much more akin to prairie dog shooting than normal deer hunting - with much bigger targets.
One trick we use when gutting is to employ short handled 'lopping shears' that folks use to chop off small limbs and rose canes. We do the skin split and gut membrane, then do a quick belly hide peel to keep hair from entering the chest cavity. Once the guts are exposed, we'll slice down the seam of the hams to the pelvis, then use the lopping shears to hook into the bone and chop through each side adjacent to the rectum. Two or three strokes each side will do. The pelvis will then pop wide open and the lower bowel can be flipped out with the rest of the gut pile without having to do the poop-shuck-and-tie-off method.
Typically, I won't split the sternum to access to esophagus, but it can be done with the shears rapidly if needed. Usually, we can reach up inside the ribs past the lungs, grab the esophagus, and use the rib cage to leverage forearms and pop-n-peel it right out. A small knife can be employed on the esophagus if desired. BTW, surgical gloves with long cuffs really help keep things tidy. Also, a buddy has a walk-in cooler 5 minutes from the primary areas we shoot over ... a BIG help in July. This year the state biologist approved April shoots. 18 of the first 20 had twin fetuses, the other two had triplets. Essentially, 62 deer taken out with 20 shots.
Crop damage is different and as you probably know there are folks that get really pissed at crop damage shooters... I used to mention shooting gravid does but from the responses I got from a few folks I decided it was not something to mention casually, a few get get right upset with shooting 'buck factories' in production mode.
One place I shot for a while had an irate informed nearby resident. He'd spike the farmer's access road with roofing nails to hole the tires if the various shooters. Pretty ingenius fella, he'd take roofing nails and hot glue them to a small squares of sheet metal so they'd stand upright and have a good solid backer so as not to sink into the dirt as the tire rode onto it, he'd re-spike and cover them with leaves after each day the road was used... I don't believe his mother ever married!!
I agree completely about taking the 'point doe' right off the bat. It helps to shoot one of the more distant deer too, and your point about a double lung shot is on the mark as well. They usually stroll just out of sight into a treeline and collapse. My normal rifle of choice is a wildcat a couple of others and I put together from a 6.8SPC necked down to .264 (better variety of bullets) with shoulders blown out & forward. It'll run a 6.5mm Nosler 120gr BT at @2,700-2,800fps with a very mild muzzle blast and recoil similar to a .223 shooting 80s.
Many folks here are just aggravated at 'outfitters' for letting the doe situation get out of hand. Most control huge tracts of land now that traditionally had hunters practicing good management techniques for generations. Now, the outfitters refuse access to anyone not paying, and rely on cull shoots to rid themselves of excess does in the off season without spooking the big bucks. My buddy and I process and donate +90% of the meat to needy folks. I'm in the beginning stages of an arrangement with a local food pantry in a different area to provide venison there as well.
Sounds like the jerk-next-door considered crop damage shooters as interlopers to his little paradise ... albeit one probably paid for by someone else. Around here, (traditional coal mine country) they'd make them by bending two big nails at right angles, cutting off & sharpening the ends, then welding them together to make a "caltrop." Some even paint them gray/ white splotch to blend in with gravel. Just toss 'em out and they land spike up. Cheap to produce, expensive results.
Caltrop, sounds like you're military or ex-military, I opted to leave the term out of my first reply. I had considered making a few with stainless tubing and seeding the neighbor's area but thought I might cause too much damage to folks should they happen upon them.
Have you by chance witnessed deer cleaning up a dead deer? I had a doe and sibling clean up a dead yearling that I had shot. The doe was off limits as was the piebald sib but I was told to take the 'normal' yearling. The doe and piebald walked to the down deer and licked it clean, there was a bit of the flehmen response from the doe a few times, odd characteristics and I've only seen it the one time. The dead sib was fairly slimy but completely clean of blood on the top side.
I noticed your observations on deer cleaning others in the article, but I haven't seen that activity myself. I have seen seen wounded deer self-cleaning though. Curious. I wonder if it's specific to mothers &/or siblings, or any deer in distress.
I saw an oddity at a distance a couple weeks ago while bow hunting. There's a BIG point doe acting 'bully' around others. It would run off other does & fawns, & generally act like a rutting buck. My partner saw the same activity, and we wondered whether it was an antlerless adult buck, or an old sterile doe. 200+ pounds, whatever it was. Any thoughts on that one ?
I've seen does fight (hoof spar) but nothing to indicate it was other than play. I have vague recollections of a doe chasing and head butting another deer but these are fuzzy.
I have seen old gray long-nose does travel with bachelor groups of older (large antlers) and apparently wiser bucks, nocturnal types. Maybe these type does become/adopt some fairly aggressive behavior once the bachelor herds break-up.
Several years ago I shot a doe at 500 yards and it dropped on the spot. A buck that had been standing 10 feet away from it at the shot. Walked up to the body and started licking it. This went on for several minutes.