Roebuck - Which deer should you cull in April?
April offers a great opportunity for some selective deer culling, but which Roebuck should you choose?
With the season for Roebuck just having started and the territorial behaviour of the bucks still under control, April represents a great month to make some careful cull selections from your resident Roebuck.
(Above: Mark with his first Roebuck and the also the first of the new season)
In the early part of April many of the larger bucks will still tolerate the presence of younger, smaller rivals before they become increasingly aggressive and seek to eject them as the month develops. As a result it will not be uncommon to still see the Roe feeding in family groups, at least during the early part of the month. This was especially true last year when the cold seemed to have left all things trailing a few weeks behind.
It is therefore possible during April to size up your Roebuck and carefully select and cull those animals which you require.
Most trophy hunters will not wish to shoot Roebuck whilst still in velvet and so tend to wait until May by which time all the bucks, young or old, will be in 'hard horn'.
One of the give aways of more mature animals is the fact that the older bucks tend to be clean of velvet earlier in the season than the young.
So with a family group of Roe in front of you and a selection of bucks to shoot, which one should you go for?
One such scenario played out for me and a new client last year. While lying prone in a large field overlooking a long stretch of woodline, in freezing conditions, we glassed a group of Roe some 170yds away as they grazed in the open field. It was a remark worth remembering when at one stage my client Mark who was spying the animals through the Swarovski Scope, remarked to me that he had three bucks all within the field of view of the rifle scope, what choice!
Thankfully the bucks were clearly identifiable in terms of their impressiveness. The first a really good six point buck clean of velvet, antlers way over his ears in length and with good thickness around the coronets and beams. This one was exciting!
The second a slightly poorer animal. Still six points, however lacking weight and length.
The third beast was the target of this outing, a simple four point's, still in velvet, and below the ears in growth. Not only this but a distinct lack of body condition and weight.
As my client Mark was not a trophy hunter and with the best of the season still to come, this was to be the target of our efforts. A fairly long shot with the estates .308 Sako 85 for a new client, however at around 170yds we dispatched our chosen beast.
It has to be said, that for a professional stalker who takes fee paying guests, there would have been a strong case for selecting the middle buck. The reason being, that in just a few short weeks the largest of the Roebuck will not tolerate mating rivals. It is possible therefore that the poor, smallest buck of the three might have been tolerated by the larger buck close by because the larger dominant animal may not have seen the lesser beast a threat. What is sure however, is that as a competitor to mating rights, the middle sized beast will be sent packing and will therefore be lost from the ground.
At any rate the decision was made, it does represent though a thought process that is worthy of consideration. If you are placed in such a scenario, do not simply cull your Roebuck on site, instead keep the animals behavioural traits and also your end management goal firmly in mind.
What is important to remember, is that a deer managers primary purpose when selecting deer, is to replace the behaviour of the abscent Wolf and Lynx and consider first and foremost the well being of the deer population as a whole.
To book an Outing stalking for Roebuck follow this link: outings-uk
Alternatively, if you are unable to get out deer stalking at the start of the season we consider in the following article: When is the best time to go? when-is-the-best-time-to-go