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Roe Deer Stalking UK

Roe Deer History

Native to the UK, the Roe deer dates to before the Mesolithic period (6000 to 10000 BC). These obligate herbivores have a grave history, one which almost led to their extinction in 18th century England, Wales, and Scotland.

The Roe deer were reintroduced to the UK in the 19th century, and after new parliamentary laws were submitted for closed seasons, the exploitation of the deer was halted.

The beautiful and somewhat solitary animal now flourishes in England and Scotland, with growing numbers of over 500,000.

The Roe deer are sometimes referred to as “vermin” due to the damage they cause to juvenile forestry and farmland. However, they are pursued more for their meat and trophy antlers rather than culling.

These deer can be hunted with firearms, but hunters must be patient when stalking Roe deer as they are known for their speed and agility.


Roe Deer Facts

The Roe deer is a sleek, medium-sized mammal with short three-pronged antlers and no discernible tail. They are normally 0.9 to 1.3 metres in length and stand between 60 to 73 centimetres.

Their coats shift in colour depending on the seasons and are usually brown with a red hue in the summer, turning grey in the winter months. This is important to note when hunting these animals, as their stalking and hunting seasons differ depending on sex.

Both male and female Roe deer have a creamy buff patch around their rump. For females, this typically is in the shape of an upside-down heart, and for males, this is a white oval.

The Roe deer is usually a solitary animal, but in the winter months will gather in a loose group of 15 or more. These elegant animals are sensitive to the cold, which may be one reason why they congregate in the winter.

During the wet and windy seasons, the Roe deer is most likely to “bed down” to conserve heat. It is after the rain that the Roe deer will begin to move again to forage and dry off.

This type of deer is active for a 24-hour period and is more active in open areas at dusk and dawn – a perfect time for hunting.

The forest outskirts are the most common area associated with the Roe deer; however, they do roam in a combination of environments. Their chosen environments range from the countryside to heathlands, and they have begun to migrate towards small towns.

 As mentioned before, the Roe deer can adapt to its environment, so it can graze on various foods such as buds, leaves from trees and shrubs, ferns, and grass. When food is scarce in the winter, the Roe deer will resort to eating twigs.


Hunting Roe Deer

Roe deer are prey animals and so have been granted the adaptations to exist as such. They have a keen sense of danger and a strong sense of smell; combined with their dense habitats, Roe deer are notoriously difficult to stalk.

It is no easy feat to track a Roe deer, either. Their droppings are indecipherable to that of a sheep, yet another adaptation that makes apprehending a Roe deer challenging. Moreover, their hoof trail is similar to the Fallow deer; the size is the main visual difference between the two deer. A Roe deer’s hoof prints are 3cm wide and 4.5cm long.

It is incredibly important to be patient and persevere when stalking Roe deer, key times for stalking such an animal, with an advantage, would be at dusk or dawn.

If you are looking to bag a buck, the seasons for hunting are between April and October. Remember that rutting season is between July and August, which can mean increased aggression from the Roe deer.

Doe hunting seasons are between November and March.

As a pastime, hunting Roe deer can be an incredibly rewarding experience and with a little patience and some skill you can have a successful hunt. Due to the Roe deer being a creature of habit, once you have found good hunting and stalking grounds, it is more likely to see them frequently.



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