July - Almanac for Deer Stalkers

The Roe Rut - when should you start calling? Peter Jones takes a look at the month ahead and offers some guidance on how to call a Roe Buck.  

July Alm Rut

As I have said before, Deer can be predictably, unpredictable, however with regard to the Roe Rut I am increasingly gaining confidence in predicting the start of activity.

Last year I guesstimated that the start date for the rut would be on, or very shortly after, the 23rd July. Arrogant in my prediction, and keen to capture some of the activity on camera, I booked our Cameraman Ewan for filming on the 23rd & 24th ....lo and behold!

In fact the main activity occurred on the 24th but let’s not split hairs. Both days were superb and in just a few hours we called in a total of five bucks. Why we only caught four on camera serves as an interesting lesson in not starting too early in the morning.

It is worth remembering that much of the rut takes place under the cover of darkness and so by the time it is getting light, which at this time of year will be around 4.30am, the Bucks are...shall we say...’spent’ and in need of a few hours ‘R&R’.  

During the rut starting too early is therefore usually a waste of time and in the case of our filming, proved to be downright unhelpful. Ewan who is now forging a well deserved career with the BBC will, I hope, forgive me for revealing what happened.

After a painfully early start, at around 10am, with Camera in hand, Ewan settled into a high seat overlooking my position at the foot of a nearby tree. After some minutes of calling the first buck of the day finally came bounding in, closer and closer it came. This surely was to make for some astonishing footage! Now just within a few feet, and so close I could have fed it a carrot, the animal finally spotted me and took off.

To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. The first buck of the Rut and all caught on camera! However as I turned to Ewan my own stupidity at demanding an early start was manifest. Instead of being greeted by Ewan’s excited grin, I was distraught to witness a face of nodding tranquillity. The gentle swaying of the trees and warm dappled sunshine, had taken its inevitable toll, as Ewan dozed, blissfully unaware of the drama that had just unfolded.

The lesson is simple, don’t start too early. This in fact is advice that should be headed, not just in terms of the time of day, but also the time of month. Reading various forums I am amazed to read of stalkers setting out to call as early as the beginning of July. Don’t. You will only serve to educate your quarry, as a result, in all probability you will only spoil things when the ‘Rut proper’ finally arrives.

With an astonishing regularity in our area of Hampshire, the start date has consistently been between the 23- 25th July. I should stress however that it is dependent on your geographical location, the further North you are the later it will be. Indeed I notice that in a recent article for us Chris Dalton, (one of our regular authors in Scotland) anticipates the start of the rut to be around 5th – 12th August.

Whatever the date in your area, I wish you good fortune. Stay awake and stay alert, when calling, bucks can materialise from the most unexpected directions.

If you’d like a demonstration of how to call and would like to watch our footage from last year’s rut, take a look at our film ‘How to Call a Roe Buck’ here on: youtube

Additionally this month we have a film about blood sucking, disease carrying arachnids...Nice! We are of course talking about ticks and Lyme disease, something which everyone who sets out into the countryside at this time of year should be aware of. Take a moment to educate yourself about prevention and treatment by viewing our latest film 'Ticks & Lyme Disease here on our website: training-films

Editorpic150IN Season in England & Wales:  Roe Buck, Muntjac Bucks & Muntjac Does.

OFF Season in England & Wales: Roe Does, Fallow Does, Fallow Buck, Sika Hinds, Sika Stags, Red Hinds, Red Stags, CWD Bucks & CWD Does. 

IN Season in Scotland: Roe Buck, Red Stags, Sika Stags.

OFF Season in Scotland: Roe Does, Fallow Does, Fallow Buck, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds 

(Peter Jones - Editor)

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