Deer Stalking November Almanac
The Doe and Hind season arrives and with it the hard work begins.
The simple truth is that on most grounds deer managers do not shoot nearly enough females. Failure to cull sufficient breeding females will result in an inevitable and often unacceptable rise in deer numbers and a loss of quality amongst your Bucks and Stags.
Recreational stalkers of course need not subject themselves to the tough conditions often associated with stalking Does & Hinds, however this is not a luxury that professional Deer Managers can afford and so it is, that for many Deer Managers with the start of the doe/hind season the hard work begins.
Stalking females may not be as glamorous as stalking Roe Buck on warm summer evenings, or Red Stags in late summer on the hill, indeed for some it may even leave a bad taste in the mouth, however it must be done.
If you have reservations, you might remind yourself of this phrase coined by the great Richard Prior on the subject: "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).
Here at ‘County Deer Stalking’ this will be the approach we adopt on our new grounds, where as yet, we have not had the opportunity to make an impression on the female population.
The season for Hinds/Does is short as are the hours of daylight. In tougher climes to the North and Scotland the going is even harder. With the added poor weather conditions deer managers are hard pressed to carry out the majority of their cull before the winter really takes hold.
In the south with its milder climate things are a little easier. However the deer that during the summer and autumn months were so visible become increasingly shy and nocturnal as they learn to anticipate a stalker at every turn.
That is not to say that November is all doom and gloom!! Quite the contrary, a quick look back at my records reveal that at ‘County Deer Stalking’ our strike rate increases dramatically now that the majority of animals are in season. Added to this, for recreational stalkers unconcerned with trophies, there is some great hunting to be had at some very affordable prices. I myself will be taking advantage of this and will be taking a trip to Scotland in November to stalk Red Hinds, more on that later in the month.
In terms of what is in season? It is in fact easier to point out what is not. Across the whole of the UK Roe Buck are off the Menu now that some of the older Bucks will have begun the process of antler casting. So look before you shoot, and be prepared to wait until you have identified the anal tuft associated with the Roe Doe. You may otherwise regret taking one of your mature bucks in error! In Scotland contrary to England & Wales, Red & Sika Stags are also out of season.
One final mention is with regard to the often less discovered pursuit of Chinese Water Deer Stalking. Due to difficulties in identifying the Buck from the Doe it is only during the winter months Nov-March that both sexes are in season, so if you have not stalked this ancient deer species before then Nov is the first month of a short season in which to do so.
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