It's all change in April
- Friday, 25 March 2022
The 1st April marks a major shift in the open seasons, we explain what is happening and the reason behind the legislation.
From one hour after sunset on 31st March, all females (except Muntjac who breed all year around) are protected in order to protect the mothers whilst they give birth and ween their young. For those specifically tasked with reducing deer numbers, the opportunity has now passed and will not resume until 1st November.
In relation to males, things are not as straight forward. Here, from one hour before sunrise on the 1st April, Roebuck are in season, whilst all CWD, buck and doe, are protected. In Scotland all males save for the Roebuck and Fallow Buck are out of season and in England & Wales all males (save CWD) remain in season until the end of the month.
Hope that’s all crystal clear!
Thankfully, this is just what the almanac is for, and at the bottom of the page you can find a clear break-down.
In fact, this apparent oddity is broadly based on common sense, with legislation designed to limit mistakes being made between the sexes, prevent young from being orphaned and from deer being shot whilst devoid of antler.
Specifically however, during April, deer continue to appear plentiful. Much like March, a lack of vegetation, open lines of sight and an inclination to be out in the fields, result in more sightings than at any other time of year. In fact, it’s easy to get carried away and regrettably more Roebuck are shot in April than at any other time, even compared with the rut. With Roebuck still in velvet, this is a mistake.
Personally, I use April to weed out a few Fallow prickets, a few weak or young Roebuck and a number of Muntjac whilst I can still see them! I also use the opportunity to pinpoint the whereabouts of my large dominant Roebuck. Roe are territorial animals and so time spent locating some big heads will pay dividend later in the season.
One way or another, after the long winter months, the onset of spring brings with it a plethora of enquiries from those that have been couped up in doors all winter and now seek to get out and enjoy some early spring sunshine.
IN Season in England & Wales: Fallow Buck, Roebuck, Sika Stag, Red Stag, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.
Off Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe.
In Season in Scotland: Fallow Buck, Roebuck
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stag & Red Hind, Sika Stag & Sika Hind, Roe Doe and Fallow Doe.
(Left: Editor Peter Jones)