November - Almanac for Deer Stalkers
- Tuesday, 27 October 2015
This year the rut for most deer species has been late, Peter Jones investigates what is going on.
(Above: The glorious Mar Lodge Estate - "My heart is in the highlands, my heart is not here, My heart is in the Highlands a-chasing the deer" R. Burns)
November and normally I would be waxing lyrical about the females of the species. For it is with the 1st of November that the Hinds and Does of all deer species come into season.
In Scotland the season for females commenced on the 21st October, just as the stag season ended, however in England & Wales the season from hence forth, runs consecutively with that of the males until the end of March.
So what’s going on this November? Well this year has been somewhat of an anomaly, with the conversely wet cold summer and uncharacteristically mild Autumn, the rut for all species has come late.
This has been recognised amongst deer managers that I have spoken to, across the whole British Isles, with our deer parks in the south east and contacts in Scotland all reporting a late start to the activity. It is my experience that this anomaly commenced with a late Roe Rut, the theme for which has followed through to the Sika, Fallow and Red. Whether it will also be true for the Chinese Water Deer in December remains to be seen, perhaps the changeable British climate will throw us another curve ball, time will tell.
For this reason if you are setting out in search of females in November, you may find that the post rut lull may in contrast be replaced with some continued rutting, especially amongst the Fallow who are often the last amongst the herding species to get in on the action.
If you have had your fill of stalking the males of the species, or have a sizeable cull of females to undertake, my advice, as ever, is get started early. November, with its beautiful display of vibrant colours and milder temperatures, is a far more pleasant month to be out in the wilds. Nowhere is this more true than in the Highlands of Scotland, where an early start to what can be a long and arduous management task, is the considered mans choice.
Finally on to this month’s film which is a film of two halves. (Click here to watch: short-films) We look firstly at the Red & Fallow Rut in the lowlands of England, before venturing north to the central highlands with a few members of the Capreolus Club. And it is with the Highlands that I will leave my final words, borrowed from the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns and reminded to me by my good friend and fellow Capreolus Club member....ah...poetry to my ears!
'My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go'.
IN Season in England & Wales: Roe Does, Fallow Does & Fallow Buck, Sika Stags & Sika Hinds, Red Stags & Red Hinds, CWD Bucks & CWD Does, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Does.
OFF Season in England & Wales: Roe Buck.
In Season in Scotland: Fallow Buck, Fallow Does, Roe Does, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds.
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stags, Sika Stags & Roe Buck
(Peter Jones - editor)