Invited roe deer stalking and got my first buck this season!

With a good last season finished I was quite optimistic looking forward coming new buck season. Roebucks are in season starting 1st April here in Scotland and can be shot until 20th October when again does become in season until 31st March. This gives unique chance (at least I do not know of any other European country…) to hunt roe deer all year round. Shooting heavily pregnant does in March or bucks without antlers in October might not be to everone’s taste, but at least there is a good reason to go out with the rifle and enjoy countryside. Just no need to shoot them…

Roebucks

On the syndicate ground, there is no deer management in place and it is a forestry company that dictates the rules and they are only interested in cull plan numbers and they do not care about population age structure, sex ratio or anything like that… One also has no powers over what other members shoot, so it all comes down to shooting what one think is shootable…

Good deer management would require a Spring census so you know your deer numbers, get to know some of your mature bucks, bucks to does ratio and make some extrapolation to get overall deer numbers on the area and detailed cull plan, but it is just theory if you do not have your own lease…

So my policy generally is to take any young (yearling, two years old) bucks as early as possible before mature bucks push them off the ground. I would also take some mature bucks if they are clean and leave the ones in velvet for later.

April is not a good month here and bucks usually disappear before they start fraying and marking territories later in the month and in May. I was out a couple of times and saw several mature heavily pregnant does that feed intensely before giving birth soon. Bucks were very elusive and I only saw one buck still in velvet but never got a chance to age him and clearly see the antlers.

Invited again

A friend kindly invited me again stalking his ground. He left in the place where I got a buck kid last time and he went to the high seat where I scared off the deer opening scope covers… 🙄

He made very comfy doe box from where I took the shot last time. It was still early but I made myself comfortable and started scanning the clearing and the edge of the plantation in front of me. The policy for today was to take any buck as there are plenty of them and roebucks this year do make a lot of damage to young trees.

After half an hour a doe appeared no more than 20m away from the box I sat in. She was looking at me but could not clearly figure out what I was, but was clever enough to pass me and get down wind. She sniffed the air and soon was gone barking… 😳

I got text message saying my friend was having three bucks in front of him, soon followed be another text saying he got one.  😀

I was texting him back when I caught a movement behind me. An old beautiful buck was running away from me towards the plantation. He must have caught my wind as he was alert looking at my direction, but clearly could not see me. He paused for a moment in from of the trees just to give me a chance to look at his antlers, but I never had time to fetch my rifle nor the camera…

A few minutes passed when I spotted a movement, again behind me. It was a young 4-pointer still in velvet walking behind the doe box no more than 30-40m away. Wind was not in favour this morning and he soon was alert as the 6-pointer earlier, but being young he was not that quick to run away a paused a few times giving me a chance to take the shot.

He was slightly quartering at maybe 120m when I pulled the trigger. I saw the bullet strike and that he was running away towards me with one of the legs clearly dysfunctioned. By the time I texted my mate he already gralloched his buck and was with me in a few minutes.

Video

180gr Speer SPBT and meat damage

I was keen to try my new reloads on roe deer. I thought they could be a good choice on both roe and reds and despite the fact they made a bit of a mess to try them again. The fact is any bullet that goes through the shoulder would make a bit of a mess. Because the bullet went through both shoulders it left significant meat damage, but it was my fault in the first place, as the shot should have been a bit further back, but due to the position the buck was in, it would have clipped the other shoulder on exit anyway… I will give these Speer bullets another chance to see how they perform in more typical broadside through the ribs shots…

It was a nice buck weight 31lb clean (14kg) and missing one leg as it was nearly shot off… Very good weight for a yearling, and I would be happy our forestry roe at that age to fetch 10-11kg, but they often are not even that…

Aging roe deer

This is a good example showing aging live deer is not as straight forward as some may think. Shooting a buck kid last month and uploading it on YouTube prompted a few people to accuse me of shooting bucks out of season. (To clarify it is perfectly legal to shoot male kid when a doe has been or is about to be shot in Scotland. I was not sure how it was in England and Wales, but after many told me it was illegal, it prompted me to have a look for myself. The Regulatory Reform Order (Deer) 2007 (England and Wales) amended Deer Act 2001 and since 2007 some changes were introduced. Roe doe season was extended, muntjac and CWD could be shot with .223 and such, and… it allowed shooting male roe kids in doe season with very similar wording as in Scottish deer law…)

I knew it was a young buck before I pulled the trigger and had not much time to look at it properly, but would have said it was a 2-years old, not a yearling. On further inspection it looked like a 2-years old being heavier and in better condition than the obvious yearling my mate just shot. Side by side they looked like younger and older brothers, but when I looked at his teeth, it was a yearling after all!

When I shot the buck kid a month earlier we could see he was a part of the trio of a doe and two kids. A nice kid, but not a yearling. This is how he would have looked like in April…

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