Roe Buck Hunting in France
- Monday, 14 March 2016
With the Roe Buck season due to start in the UK in just three weeks time, we look further afield to France where Pierre-Jean Lacombe recounts the start of last year’s season near Toulouse.
In France the opening day of the Roe Buck season is much later in the year than in the UK. The season does not in fact start until the 1st June and stretches through until the 1st September.
I recall the 1st of June last year when, with most French Roe Buck enthusiasts heading to their favourite spot, a client joined me for the opening day of the season.
Leaving the house at 5.15 am, I could already feel that it is was going to be a warm day, even for the south of France, as the temperature had already reached 15°C. After a 10 minutes’ drive we arrived at what must be, my favourite place to spot and stalk. Here we have a 360° view on the surrounding fields.
This area never lets me down and this time was to be no exception. As soon as the sun rose we spotted our first animals; first a doe with two calves, then a young buck. In this place if we are after something special we simply have to sit and be patient. We have a huge amount of ground to cover with our binocular and Roe buck, especially the old ones, can easily hide in high grass or lay down in a fruit plantation for long periods of time.
On this occasion we had to wait until 6.15am to finally spot a nice six pointer. We watched him walking through a wheat field and stopping to feed at a hedgerow. With the bucks mind on browsing, it was a good time for us to make our move. However having that many animals around us was to make the stalk tricky and so there was no other choice other than to crawl in the grass to reach a good spot where finally we were able to settle ourselves in a good, safe shooting position.
With the buck now standing just 80 metres in front of us and still feeding at the brambles, I was delighted when my client was able to take a perfect shot that caused the buck to drop dead on the spot. With the sun now high in the sky and the thermostat soaring we were able to hurriedly take some photos and ‘gralloch’ the deer.
A great start to the new season and time to celebrate another good opening day with a typical French breakfast of cheese, ham, sausage and red wine. It’s then time to relax by the pool until the evening when we will be out again in search of more of these beautiful deer.
In France expectations are always high on the opening day of the Roe Buck season, as most hunters have already spent hours scouting during the spring. By this stage we all have a few bucks in mind that we will aim to ‘grass’. Personally I target as a priority, the bucks in poor condition and the old males. On some rare occasions I allow myself to shoot a nice mature buck, but only on the condition that another stronger buck lives on some same ground.
I also pay much more attention to the body weight than the trophy and I always go for the big trophy / small body weight rather than the small trophy / good body weight. This style of management has paid off over the years and some of our grounds produce some really nice healthy Roe buck developing trophies up to 600 grams. Of course the average is around 350 grams but it is not uncommon to harvest bucks of between 500 to 600 grams.
Living in Toulouse, the sunny capital of the south of France, I am lucky enough to have access to several thousand hectares to hunt. Our rolling landscape is ideal for stalking with a mixture of wheat fields, fruit plantations, vineyards and small forests. The Roe buck stalking season starts on the 1st of June until the 1st of September with the rut generally kicking off during the last week of July or the 1st week of August.
If you’d like to try Roe Buck hunting in France then contact Pierre-Jean Lacombe at: www.ucpsporting.com
To learn more about Roe Buck Stalking follow this link: roe-buck-stalking