This was again Christmas present I got together with a couple of other books. I read this one last as expected the most of it and I was not disappointed. “Deer management in the UK” by Dominic Griffith is a must have book for anyone seriously thinking about roe deer management.
In the first chapter author presents his “low stress” management philosophy that basically means leaving deer on their own for the most of the year with short bursts of deer culling activity. Author also recommends no culling from a vehicle to allow easier census and observation, which makes sense only if all stalkers apply this and there is no poaching in the area. I once saw a stag running in such a hurry on a sight of a slowing down car that he hit the fence and broke an antler… this was not in the area known for good deer management… 🙄
The next chapter is absolutely brilliant and talks about cull plan. Author explains how he does Spring census and how he estimates deer numbers for the area and corresponding cull figures. I found very interesting idea of counting mature bucks and marking their territories on the map. This surely is great and should be achievable (author claims he can see up to 70% of mature bucks) in southern England, but has its limitations for the area that I stalk (mainly mature sitka spruce forestry), but nonetheless brilliant idea.
Next two chapters are about achieving buck and doe culls respectively. As mentioned before author recommends limiting cull activity to short bursts. In case of fallow and roe doe culls he recommends moving deer and culling from high seats.
There are also three case studies with detailed stats about improving roe deer quality on various estates in Southern England. This is great read and proves the author’s deer management philosophy is not pure fiction but has been proved and implemented.
There is additional information about trophy measurement with detailed instructions, but to be fair it can be also found in CIC’s red and blue books.
There is also chapter about Siberian roe and Marko Pierre White’s venison recipes at the end.
The book on the whole is nothing but brilliant with many pictures of deer and interesting trophies, can’t recommend it highly enough.