Deer Stalking October Almanac
Peter Jones considers what to expect from Deer Stalking during the month of October.
(Above: It is cold weather in October that will herald the start of the Fallow Rut)
Personally I find Autumn the most beautiful of seasons, with trees bursting into one last fiery display of brilliant reds and gold’s before the onset of winter. For me with autumn also comes a not unpleasant sense of melancholy at the end of another summer.
The mornings and evenings are cold and fresh, occasionally tainted by the nostalgic waft of wood smoke from nearby cottages and farms. Yet despite the feelings of another year ended, for many deer stalkers autumn marks the beginning of their calendar.
Around the UK the Sika Deer and Red Deer Rut continues in full vigour, but now with the onset of cold weather comes another familiar call. Not the roar of the Red Stag or the whistle of the Sika, instead loud ‘belching’ and ‘groaning’ can be heard coming from the woods as Fallow Buck with their now enlarged Adam’s apple and thickened throat announce their mating intentions.
It is cold weather in October that will herald the start of the Fallow Rut, dominant Bucks, like sentries, take up familiar and well used stands from which well trodden postings they will wallow and groan in unceasing activity.
October is therefore the month to try and grass a Fallow Buck who, with their vocal display, are prepared to risk betraying their presence to the hunter in order to attract a doe to their stand.
Other changes in the woods and fields are taking place amongst the Roe deer, whose behavioural characteristics dictate that they will start reforming family groups now that their territorial inclinations have subsided.
As a result a few Roe Buck will again start to appear, along with the buck fawns that are now betrayed by simple button pedicles which mark them out as targets, and distinguishing them from their mothers for one last month before the Does come into season in November.
As for Muntjac, the Bucks will now be in hard antler, having shed their velvet during August and September and both Doe and Buck will start to become more visible in the diminishing understorey.
Finally for those who stalk deer in Scotland the month of October, or more precisely the 20th/21st October, marks an important transition from Stag and Buck stalking to Doe and Hind stalking. Save for the Fallow Buck whose seasons are in line with England & Wales, the season for Red, Sika and Roe deer switch from the male of the species to the female.
In Season in England & Wales: Fallow Buck, Roe Buck, Muntjac, Sika Stags, Red Stags.
Off Season in England & Wales: Fallow Does, Roe Does, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds, CWD.
In/Off Seasons in Scotland: Roe Buck, Red Stags, Sika Stags, (Until 20th Oct only). Fallow Buck in season throughout October - Roe Does, Fallow Does, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds are in season from the 21st October onward.
Peter Jones - editor