Deer Stalkers Almanac - July
We predict the start of the 2014 Roe Rut and look closer at what to expect during the month of July.
The 23rd July....It’s a Wednesday this year and I’ll hedge my bets that it’ll be around this date, that the eagerly awaited 2014 Roe Rut will get underway! Looking back over my records of stalking Roe Buck in Hampshire, I note that the Roe Rut has typically commenced somewhere between the 23rd and 25th July, with the 23rd July being the preferred start date.
Obviously there will be other factors at play, with the weather not least amongst them. Cold wet and windy weather may well delay, or at the very least, subdue activity whilst hot, muggy weather will act as a catalyst. It is also a fact that as one progresses further north the rut tends to be later, with many parts of Northern England and Scotland not witnessing rutting behaviour until early August.
So what else might affect the onset of the rut? Well it was interesting to observe that last year the typical start for the rut coincided with a full moon. Regular readers will be aware of my feelings about a full moon and will therefore be none too surprised to hear that by my records, the rut was deferred until the 25th July, despite a roasting hot summer. This year I am pleased to see from the symbols in my diary that ‘moon phase’ will not to be a factor. (To read more about the effect of moon phases follow this link: moon-phases-and-their-effect-on-deer-stalking)
So how can you plan to make the most of the rut? Well if you haven’t booked an outing then be quick, remaining dates with reputable outfitters will be few indeed. If you are lucky enough to have your own ground then time will be best spent practicing your calling, which will incidentally, be the focus of next month’s short film.
Regarding the rut one final word of advice, gripped with understandable eagerness, it is my experience that most people start calling far too early, my advice is to resist this temptation. It is a mistake that will only educate the Roe Buck to your tactics, long before they are inclined to respond. Once the rut is underway there is time enough, with activity often lasting at its height for two or even three weeks.
I wince slightly as I write this, as last year was for many an anti-climax. Activity can be highly localised and there were no doubt, a few heady day of excitement. However in my experience it was a disappointment, let us hope the balance is redressed this year.
As for the other deer species? In Scotland Red and Sika Stags will also be in season, albeit with velvet still covering their antlers. The stag season therefore will not get underway properly for another month or two. Likewise in England, Muntjac Bucks will also be in velvet.
In next month’s short film we’ll be aiming to get you some footage of the early days of the Rut and I’ll be doing my best to demonstrate some calling. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the start of this much anticipated spectacle.
To view our our Short Film for June (Stalking in the Surrey Hills) follow this link: short-films
IN Season in England & Wales: Roe Buck, Muntjac Bucks & Muntjac Does.
OFF Season in England & Wales: Roe Does, Fallow Does, Fallow Buck, Sika Hinds, Sika Stags, Red Hinds, Red Stags, CWD Bucks & CWD Does.
IN Season in Scotland: Roe Buck, Red Stags, Sika Stags.
OFF Season in Scotland: Roe Does, Fallow Does, Fallow Buck, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds
Peter Jones - Editor