April is somewhat of an oddity as far as UK deer stalking legislation is concerned and many recreational stalkers might be forgiven for having to ‘swot up’ a little before venturing out.

Image almanac April 2023

Thankfully, this is just what the County Deer Stalking Almanac is for!

From one hour after sunset on 31st March, all females, except the Muntjac Doe, are out of season. This to protect the mothers whilst they raise their newborn.

For males in England & Wales, from one hour before sunrise on the 1st April, the open season for Roebuck commences and all other males except for Chinese Water Deer buck, remain in season until the end of the month.

Alternatively, in Scotland all males save for the Roebuck and Fallow Buck are out of season.

If that’s at all unclear, there is a table at the end of each almanac that details the seasons more clearly.

roebuckvelvetewan

For deer managers who need to get the number of breeding females down, the opportunity has now passed and will not resume until 1st November, by which time, there will be approximately another 30% more deer!

As for the deer’s behaviour, a lack of vegetation, clear lines of sight and a desire to bask in the early spring sunshine and browse on new growth, means that sightings continue to be at an annual high. Regrettably, for the UK’s native Roebuck, this results in more Roebuck being shot in April than at any other time of year. I say regrettably, because with their antlers in ‘tatters’ and whilst shedding their winter coat, they are far from their most elegant.

Likewise with the larger species. Whilst in England & Wales they remain in season through April, it is far from the optimum time to be shooting, due to the seasonal ‘casting of antlers’.

The irony is, as the buds and flowers begin to bloom, April is exactly the time of year when many recreational stalkers look out of their window and think, just how pleasant it would be to get out into the countryside!

Well thankfully, we have an abundance of opportunities to take more meagre animals, and that, to my mind, is exactly what April is for. In the interests of the herd and the betterment of species, it is the perfect time of year to weed out some of the poorer males.

From a global perspective, deer stalking and the culture that surrounds hunting in the UK can seem rather complex and opaque, and this is the focus of the latest podcast episode from Blood Origins, in which I engage in conversation with Blood Origins founder Robbie KRÖGER, about the myths and misconceptions surrounding deer hunting in the UK. What it really takes to get started in hunting and why hunting is so crucial to the overall health and biodiversity of the UK environment. To listen follow this link: open.spotify.com/episode

In another item of news, I am delighted to reveal that the PDS1 Deer Stalking Qualification has taken another significant step forward this month, with the addition of a fabulous new ‘Scotland Module’ to the Proficient Deer Stalker Level 1 (PDS1) course, that makes the PDS1 even more relevant to those who wish to get into deer stalking in Scotland.  You can find out more about this exciting development in our latest film which comes to you from the Scottish Highlands: youtube.com/watch

Peter Jones 150IN 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. 

(Editor - Peter S Jones)

 

 

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