December - A Look Ahead at Deer Stalking Across the UK
- Sunday, 25 November 2018
The UK has six species of deer. Why not cast your net a little wider this December?
Ask most deer hunters in the UK which deer species they have hunted, and most will reel off; Roe, Red and Fallow, more may also mention Muntjac and fewer still Sika, yet perhaps the most least heard will be Chinese Water Deer.
The reason? Undoubtedly geographical spread… or lack of. Chinese Water Deer or CWD as they are more widely referred to, are confined to a very limited geographical spread of fen land reed bed areas around the Norfolk Broads, Suffolk, and parts of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, and so unlike say Roe, which frequent most areas of the UK, the CWD requires a special effort on behalf of the stalker to make the trip.
Other reasons are undoubtedly the short season, which for both sexes stretches from 1st Nov – 31st March, due to difficulties in identifying the buck from the doe and because I have also broadly observed, that for the recreational stalker, especially those new to the sport, the desire to stalk a species is often directly proportionate to its size and so for this reason, CWD with their slight stature, often appear quite low on the ‘to do’ list. None the less, if CWD do appear on your list of ‘must do’s’ December is the optimum time to book a stalk, because it is during December that this ancient little deer species is rutting.
After the boisterous, autumn rutting behaviour displayed by the larger species of deer, it is quite refreshing to adjust ones sights to the more discreet, smaller species, and December, with the reduced understory, represents another great opportunity to also hunt the diminutive Muntjac. Of course, the joy of stalking these species will not be lost on those that wish to process their own venison. CWD and Muntjac lend themselves well to a spot of home butchery at a time when we are all looking for an alternative or addition to the traditional Christmas Turkey.
The UK is fortunate to have six species of deer, not to mention Feral Goat of which there has been much recent nonsense in the media. So, if you have not done so already, then why not cast your net a little wider and experience the delight of hunting the UK’s most ancient deer species.
On to this month’s film and it’s a controversial one – ‘Head shooting’. I take a head shot on a Roe deer and explain the reasons for doing so. Follow this link to our Short Films page (December 2018 'Head Shooting') short-films
IN Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe & Fallow Buck, Sika Stag & Sika Hind, Red Stag & Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.
OFF Season in England & Wales: Roebuck.
In Season in Scotland: Fallow Buck, Fallow Doe, Roe Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind.
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stag, Sika Stag & Roebuck
(Peter Jones - Editor)