October - A Look Ahead at Deer Stalking Across the UK
- Tuesday, 25 September 2018
'Changes are afoot' - Peter Jones takes alook ahead at one of the highlights of the deer stalkers calendar.
There is something in the air – the mornings smell fresher, colder and more clear. The shadows lengthen, and the leaves begin to turn from green to gold. Something is happening, changes are afoot and as mother nature takes a weary yawn after the long days of summer, the UK’s largest land mammals become aroused and alert.
Much like the deer themselves, with these subtle changes, deer hunters up and down the country experience a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation – the hunt is on.
October represents the very pinnacle of deer stalking in the UK and is by far and away my favourite time of year. The ‘Roar’, ‘bellow’ and ‘Whistle’ of the herding species resonates around the UK countryside as deer and hunters alike, become mesmerised and enthralled by the best of the autumn rut.
Whilst all of this boisterous activity amongst the larger deer species is going on, there are other subtle changes taking place amongst the smaller deer species. Muntjac are now not only in hard antler but are also finally again visible. Roebuck, who have been absent by virtue of their post rut inactivity over the preceding months, can also now be seen, this is especially true of the kids who, experiencing their first surge in testosterone, can be seen sparring with button antlers in what is known as the ‘False Rut’.
For me, living in the south of England, what also makes October so special is that it is succeeded by November, a crucial turning point from which it is possible to hunt Fallow, Red and Sika females and males concurrently. In Scotland however, the season for male and female is consecutive and the transition comes at midnight on the 20th October, when the season for stags ends and begins the next morning with hinds.
As October and November unfold, the countryside is a beautiful, rich and colourful time to be out. With the visual, fiery display of autumn leaves bursting into flame comes the appropriate fragrance of wood smoke from country pubs, as they fill with the excited chatter of game shooters and deer stalkers alike.
For me personally, I will be celebrating October with the Capreolus club during its overnight trip to Oxfordshire in search of the ‘triple’; Fallow Buck, Muntjac Buck and Roebuck.
Finally, this month’s film which is brought to you from Sussex where the Capreolus club has hosted its annual ‘Woodland Stalker Challenge’. Take a look, and as you do so, ask yourself, how would I fair? From next year this may be relevant as we look to invite teams to compete on what is arguably one of the most exciting deer stalker courses anywhere in the UK. To watch the film, please follow this link: short-films
In Season in England & Wales: Fallow Buck, Roebuck, Muntjac Buck & Doe, Sika Stag, Red Stag.
Off Season in England & Wales: Fallow Doe, Roe Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind, CWD.
In/Off Seasons in Scotland: Roe Buck, Red Stag, Sika Stag, (Until 20th Oct only). Fallow Buck in season throughout October - Roe Doe, Fallow Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind are in season from the 21st October.
(Peter Jones - editor)