February 2016 - Deer Stalkers Almanac
- Monday, 25 January 2016
With another tranche of this seasons hill stalking due to exit stage left on the 15th February and with the majority of the game season having left the building on the 1st Feb’, all is more quiet in the countryside.
Whilst in the UK, the number of devotees to deer stalking are ever increasing, deer stalking remains a minority field sport. Add to this its solitary nature and it is easy to feel that until now, we stalkers have been marginalised by the general commotion that surrounds game shooting.
This is never more evident than during a visit to your local gun shop, where, during the pre season rush, vendors are seen bustling around last minute game shooters, fetching boxes of cartridges, clothing and various other items of game shooting paraphernalia, as they seek to consolidate on the annual pre shoot splurge.
In contrast to the game shooters boisterous arrival on the scene, a deer stalkers; usually solitary presence in the countryside, is somewhat less intrusive. When a stalker sets off into the woods, or out onto the hill, he is, more often than not, dependent entirely on himself. There are no beaters to drive the game, or ‘pickers up’ to collect the shot beast, there are no willing helpers handing out sloe gin, or companions with whom to discuss the day’s events. Instead most stalkers are entirely dependent on themselves.
The challenge and self reliance that one experiences in setting out in pursuit of deer is like none other. Furthermore, in no other field sport is one responsible for taking the life of a beast that possesses vital organs as large as our own! Neither do other field sports involve the hunting of animals that are so noble, or held in such high regard.
I enjoy my game shooting, but I am passionate about deer stalking and so I will not mourn the passing of another game shooting season.
Looking to the month ahead and a word about Roe deer, here at ‘County Deer Stalking’, as well as concentrating on the requirements of the doe cull, it is during February that we will also be starting to take note of the whereabouts of our Roe buck.
Mature Roe Buck in February proudly exhibit antlers that are well advanced in velvet. However if you have Roe stalking, be warned, it is a mistake to assume that just because the mature bucks are in antler, that this is true of all Roe buck. This is not the case, remember, that buck fawns will be casting their ‘buttons’ during February and so will be absent of antler for some weeks to come, before re growing their first simple set of antlers in time for the start of the buck season.
A final word about this months film which shows just some of the highlights from our training and stalking films during 2015. To watch it follow this link to: short-films
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: Sika Hinds, Red Hinds and Fallow Does until 15th Feb only. Fallow Buck & Roe Does remain in season throughout February.
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stags, Sika Stags & Roe Buck. Also Red & Sika Hinds and Fallow Does from 16th February.