Stalking the Will O’ the Whisp.

My apologies for not having written posts for a few weeks – but things have been somewhat busy here of late. Not least – because the best of the Roe Buck stalking has now arrived with us.

The months of May and June – with warm, ( usually) weather, and a surge of growth in vegetation, bring the Roe Bucks out of their Winter haunts. As the weather warms, the animals establish new territories, clean the velvet from their antlers, and feed – in the almost permanent Summer day light.
At this latitude, mid June offers only about two hours of twilight time – before once again, the Sun rises above the horizon. Not quite The Land of the Midnight Sun – but close.
With the abundance of daylight – and the almost endless activity of Capreolus capreolus – the Roe stalker finds most of his or her dawn or dusk hours, perched in a high seat on the Woodland edge – or quietly stalking crop bearing fields, in the hope of catching a feeding Buck unawares. Sleep is now something of a luxury – especially when still dry evenings abound !.

Early morning Buck, taken from a high seat.

Opinions as to which calibre best suits Roe stalking abound !, – but usually fall into one of two schools. The first favour smaller, faster, .22 centre fire cartridges – believing that a small quarry doesn’t need a big bullet. There is a great deal of logic in this argument, of course. Fifty to sixty grain bullets however, can drift in a strong crosswind, if a long, ( 200 yard plus ) shot needs to be taken. A heavier – slightly slower bullet – possessing great weight and energy – does tend to hold it’s course better, over windy open ground. This is the second school of thought.
Myself – well, perhaps I have a foot in both camps – as these days I tend to use a .270 W, with a 130 grain, soft pointed bullet. Too much gun ?. Well, perhaps – but when they go down – they stay down – and that means a lot to me !.
Hunting friend Alister, with a fine 6 pointer.

Me – with a Roe neck warmer !.

To the North American eye, the 6 Point head, of a mature Roe Buck, may seem tiny – but this is the typical maximum number of points, found in male Roe deer. There are of course exceptions to this – and Roe with quite literally dozens of points have been shot in the past. These heads are usually caused by some kind of biological defect, or hormonal abnormality, ( particularly testicular damage ) and are particularly prized by trophy collectors. In July of 2008, I myself shot a 9 point Roe Buck, within a few hundred yards of where I now sit and type. As to what had caused him to produce 3 extra points, I cannot say – as he seemed to be healthy in every regard.
Grey faced 6 pointer, with heavy pearling.

It is my sincere hope that readers of the Upland Equations blog, have found this article interesting – and perhaps even informative. The delicate Roe Buck may not have the pans of a mighty Bull Moose – but as a quarry, he will test the hunter to the very limits of his/her ability. Capreolus capreolus is the ‘Will O’ the Whisp’ – who can appear as if by magic – only to vanish like smoke. To my mind there are few creatures more beautiful in all of the natural world. Added to which – he is darned fine eating !.
Now readers; if you will excuse me, I shall head off to snatch a couple of hours sleep – before once again, taking up my evening woodland vigil !.
‘Good Hunting’,

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy W. says:

    Scolopax, That is a cool looking buck! It sounds like you guys are making the most of the season. I would love to see a picture of that 9 point. Do you have a taxidermist mount a buck like that? Good to hear from you again. Great post!Andy

  2. Very nice Buck! So what is the seasonal limit on Roe bucks? Do you hunt only the bucks or are does harvested too? I'm in full agreement with your 270 philosophy. Knock'em down and keep'em down. Works for me.

  3. Scolopax, that rack doesn't look small to me. But then again, I don't live in whitetail country – California blacktail deer are nothing like the enormous monsters you see on the covers of most American hunting magazines.What does look small to me is your nighttime this time of year. Yikes!

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