Deer Stalkers Almanac - May

These are strange times. This month, I again find myself writing about how the deer are behaving in our absence.

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Of course, for many UK deer hunters, the current lockdown is now an irrelevance, because from 1st May all deer species save for the Muntjac and the Roebuck are protected, whilst the females have their young and the males of the herding species cast.

From a pure deer management perspective, it is therefore somewhat of a relief that the Coronavirus lockdown occurred when it did, rather than during the open season for females, in which case, the inability to cull a suitable number of the breeding population, might in some areas, have created an environmental headache for several years to come, before numbers could again be brought back under control.

As chance has it, it has instead been the much more recreational pursuit of Roebuck stalking that has been most affected. Indeed, last month I pointed out that more Roebuck are shot in April than any other month. Well for Roebuck enthusiasts, the month of May is another highpoint, which normally sees thousands of hunters from around the UK and abroad converge on the UK countryside, to witness one of the most beautiful spectacles of the deer stalkers calendar. A spectacle that sees Roebuck charging about, in a manner that resembles a game of ‘musical chairs’, in their determination to seize and dominate a patch of their own.

Indeed, anticipating this peak in behaviour, at the Capreolus Club we had scheduled our ‘Roebuck May’hem’ event for Friday 15th May, so the big question for us has been will this go ahead, or will the Roebuck be granted an extended reprieve? By all accounts, with a gentle easing of the lockdown restrictions anticipated in the coming weeks, it appears that it will be a close-run thing.

For what it is worth, my opinion has always been that deer stalking is a solitary pursuit which embodies the very epitome of social distancing, so a resumption of activity should be allowed at the first reasonable opportunity. Yes, I fully appreciate that it is important not to put oneself at risk of injury or accident that may unnecessarily burden the NHS, but despite the use of knives and firearms, deer stalking is not a high risk pursuit, and at any rate, don’t most accidents happen in the home?

One thing is for sure, we are not ones for ‘virtue posturing’ and whilst implementing some common sense precautions, we intend to get our clients and club members back into the field at the first opportunity. So one way or another, 15th May or not, the start of the Roebuck season this year cannot be far off!

Onto our film this month, which unsurprisingly focuses on Roebuck and gives an insight into some of the tremendous potential that is on offer on County Deer Stalking & Capreolus Club grounds. It may be starting late, but by every indication, it looks like it is going to be a stonker of a summer!

To watch this months film: 'Fatal Spine Shot on a Murder Buck' simply follow this link: youtube.com/watch

Peter Jones 150IN Season in England & Wales:  Roebuck, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.

OFF Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe, Fallow Buck, Sika Hind, Sika Stag, Red Hind, Red Stag, CWD Buck & CWD Doe. 

IN Season in Scotland: Roebuck

OFF Season in Scotland: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe, Fallow Buck, Sika Hind, Sika Stag, Red Hind, Red Stag. 

(Peter Jones - Editor)

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