March 2016 - Deer Stalkers Almanac
- Friday, 26 February 2016
At last the countryside starts to revive from its winter repose. The daylight hours lengthen and shadows become shorter in the progressively warm, early spring sunshine.
A chorus of bird song and the drone of bees start to fill the air. March is a month of promise, the promise of restorative days to come and the arrival of budding nutrition in the woods and fields.
Whilst at variance with Roe Buck, who are in the early part of their antler cycle, and are beginning to shed their velvet, the herding species will soon be casting. As for the females, all species, except for Muntjac , who do not follow the typical annual cycle, will now be heavily pregnant and as such, will be disinclined to stir from their couches unless pressed.
Of course female deer spend most of their lives pregnant or with young and yet many of us will find it distasteful to be shooting heavily pregnant females. Indeed the thought of shooting a female and the consequential slaying of its unborn young, is enough to persuade many stalkers to lay off in March, and instead focus their attentions on countless maintenance requirements, such as mending high seats and cutting back rides, ready for the numerous fee paying guests that descend on the countryside for the Roe Buck season.
Whatever the policy it is that you adopt, it should be in line with your management plan. If you have previously decided to shoot ‘said number’ of females by the end of the season, then you should press on and do so, irrespective of how unpalatable the job may seem. What is for sure, come the 1st April when females are no longer in season, you are sure to see them everywhere, and so will your landlord. Telling your angry landlord, who had expected you to keep on top of the deer, that they are now out of season will not appease him, so better get the job done while you can.
Whatever the requirements, March is a time to tread lightly in the countryside. At this time of year the deer are under considerable nutritional stress, which can result in a high number of natural mortalities. Add to this the pregnant state of the females and the stalker is well advised to limit his pressure on already weather weary beasts.
This month we have a training film for you: ‘How to Zero Your Rifle’ it’s astonishing how often this relatively simple, but essential task is gotten wrong. We provide six steps designed to get you on target. Follow this link to watch the film: training-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: Roe Does, Fallow Buck
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stags & Red Hinds, Sika Stags & Sika Hinds, Roe Buck and Fallow Does.
(Editor - Peter Jones)