Deer Stalkers Almanac - November
- Sunday, 26 October 2014
With November comes a change in attitude, ‘deer management’ now becomes the operative phrase as deer managers across the UK change focus from trophy hunting, to the often arduous process of tackling the females, in weather conditions that become increasingly challenging.
("Memories of the the heady days of summer Roe Buck and the Autumnal Rut fade")
I need hardly remind readers that the reason for the females being protected until this time of year are simply to allow them sufficient time to wean their young, who are by now considered independent of their mothers.
And so, as the UK descends into winter and the memories of the heady days of the Autumnal Rut and Summer Roe Buck fade, deer managers across the UK are instead obliged to turn their rifles on the Hinds and Does. Yes, in England & Wales many males will still be shot, however with a much shorter season for females and a closed season for Stags in Scotland, the sensible stalker will take the opportunity to concentrate his efforts on achieving a suitable cull of females.
Historically to shoot a female was regarded as killing the mother of a potentially fine Buck or Stag. Indeed this is still the somewhat outdated attitude of many hunters, this philosophy however is flawed. Fine stags and Bucks do not occur unless the pressure of numbers is relieved. Put more simply, if your ground is teeming with females, the lack of food will inhibit the potential of the young, who will not develop to a satisfactory weight or condition that will allow them to achieve substantial antler growth.
Forgive me for annually trotting out this line, however the words are amongst my favourite penned by any author on the subject, and they are the words of the great Richard Prior: "Think of the old-fashioned school master walloping away at some unfortunate pupil, saying as he does so 'I am only doing this for your own good!'. ('Roe Deer Management & Stalking' Swan Hill Press 2000). It is for this reason that any self respecting deer manager should take a firm hand with the females.
Notable exceptions to this occur with Chinese Water Deer and Muntjac, for whom the season for both sexes is in its infancy. Indeed for a variety of reasons mentioned in my previous almanac’s, many managers of Muntjac will have applied a self imposed closed season until now on both sexes. This is of course despite there being no requirement in law. For those who stalk Chinese Water Deer, the Deer Act has obliged them to hold off until the 1st November, due to the difficulties of identifying the female from the male. For these stalkers the 1st November is the crucial start date in their hunting diary.
A few final word of advice on the subject of culling Does & Hinds and they are; ‘start early’. As the weather deteriorates it will increasingly impede progress, a factor which is of course particularly so in the harsher climes of the north of England and Scotland.
On to this month’s film (October - 'Red Stag Stalking in the Scottish Highlands') which we are particularly proud of. We visit the highlands of Scotland via the Caledonian sleeper train for the last day of the season for Red Stags, equipped with a superb rifle in the iconic 300 Win’ Mag’ courtesy of ‘William Evans Gunmakers’ I hope you enjoy! To watch this film click here: short-films, alternatively to read more about the 300 Win' Mag' Click here: 300-winchester-magnum
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