May - Deer Stalkers Almanac
- Thursday, 30 April 2015
Peter Jones reveals some of the highlights of the month ahead.
(Above: Now having shed the velvet from their antlers and being in a glorious red summer coat, the Roe Buck is looking his very best)
Without question the month of May is first and foremost about Roe Buck. In Scotland there is in fact, nothing else in season, and in England & Wales the only other species in season is Muntjac. Anyone who has stalked Muntjac will know, that with the ever increasing ground cover May is not a good month to be shooting ‘Munties’.
And so the month of May is all about the deer species ‘Capreolus Capreolus’, and what an exciting month it is. I need hardly remind readers that the reason why Roe Buck remain in season, when all other males are protected, is to do with antler growth. Whilst the males of other species will have cast their antlers, by contrast the Roe Buck will have now shed their velvet and be exhibiting hard antlers in all their crowning glory!
The Roe Buck is now looking his very best, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, the tatters of velvet will have now fallen away, and the dull brown winter pelt will have been shed, to reveal hard horn and a glorious glossy red summer coat.
With the onset of long days and warm early summer sunshine, bucks will seemingly burst from lethargy into vigorous activity, as testosterone levels rise, and the males scramble to take their positions around the countryside. Those that have the weight and stature will call the shots and draw the boundaries of their domain. Within this area only females and a few subservient males will be tolerated. Attempts by roaming males to infringe on these territories will be met with a ferocious intolerance.
In a flash of red it is not uncommon for a hunter to suddenly witness a dominant male break cover to tear after an inferior male. In such a reckless blind fever, and with a lack of concern for anything else other than their opponent, many Roe Buck will fall victim to traffic collisions and other mishap, as they cross field, fence and road to either evade or pursue.
It is easy to see why May is the month for Roe enthusiasts, to witness one of the UK’s truly native deer species in full vigour is an exhilarating sight. In fact the rough and tumble often only lasts for a week or two as the males jostle for position, then settle down once again to concentrate on gaining weight and size ready for the Rut in late July. It will be then, once again, that the males will be called upon to defend, not just their territory, but also their mating rights.
If you are intending to stalk Roe Buck this season a word of advice, book up now. During June and early July there will be a lull in activity. Whilst the season spans a total of some seven months, it is only for a few short weeks during May and again during the Rut that Roe Buck stalking is at its very best.
IN 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
OFF Season in Scotland: Roe Does, Fallow Does, Fallow Buck, Sika Hinds, Sika Stags, Red Hinds, Red Stags.
(Editor - Peter Jones)