April - A Look Ahead at Deer Stalking Across the UK
- Thursday, 29 March 2018
April represents a turning point in the world of deer stalking, Peter Jones takes a look at what is going on.
(Above: A Roe Doe soaks up some winter sun)
This year the winter feels as though it has dragged on for an eternity. If I never hear the phrase ‘beast form the east’ again I shall be glad of it. So entrenched has this phrase become in our popular vocabulary this winter, I even heard myself unwittingly uttering the phrase during the course our latest film! Finally however, with April, and the ever-shortening shadows, there is a warmth to the sun that even the dreaded north easterly wind cannot chill.
Rumoured to bloom on St George's Day, the Bluebells start to flower and the first drone of bees can be heard amongst the blossom. At this time of year the countryside finally returns to life and winter worn deer are at last able to find new growth and sustenance in the woods and fields.
Likewise, as the weather shifts from winter to spring and with the females of five of the UK’s six species of deer now protected in order to afford them time to raise their young, we in turn shift our focus away from the task of population management and instead focus our attention on the males.
With that said, April is not a month for setting out in search of a trophy. With the Roebuck still in tatters and the males of the herding species now beginning to ‘cast’ their antlers, April is a period best spent simply weeding out the lesser beasts, it is not a time to be shooting your prize Roebuck. These highly regarded, precious animals should be left at least until May, by which time they will be in their smart red summer coat, free of velvet and developing a little colour to their antlers.
Whilst with the lack of cover in the woods it may be easier to spot the Roe, the best of the Roebuck season is ahead of us, and if you want to enjoy your summer Roe stalking to the best of its potential, you should refrain from rushing in. Roebuck are unable to be reared in parks and so how this pretty species evolves in the UK is entirely dependent on our management of them in the wild.
As for Muntjac, well April will be your last good opportunity to take an animal or two before this diminutive deer is lost in the developing foliage.
On to this month’s film in which we put theory into practice, and with our new-found confidence with iron sights acquired on the range last month, we successfully set out in search of live quarry. Follow this link to watch the Film 'Hunting Deer With Iron Sights' April '18' short-films
IN Season in England & Wales: Fallow Buck, Roebuck, Sika Stag, Red Stag, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.
Off Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe.
In Season in Scotland: Fallow Buck, Roebuck
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stag & Red Hind, Sika Stag & Sika Hind, Roe Doe and Fallow Doe.
(Peter Jones - Editor)