Well, I was out yesterday morning on a piece of ground that is barely a stone's throw from my house. Although there are no deer hefted to the ground, the farmer had said that he'd seen a few roe in recent weeks, so I decided on an outing before the end of the season.
Arriving before dawn, a short walk turned up a group of five. Two were bucks, the younger of which was bedded down with only his head visible above the skyline. After I'd moved into a position that gave me a decent backstop curiosity finally got the better of the younger one, which obligingly stood up, only to drop a second later as my shot proved true. The older buck then got bitten by the same curiosity bug and made its way towards me. It was a far superior animal, with antlers nearly twice the length of its ears. It also stood broadside on, but as I was only after one buck it eventually twigged my labrador and exited stage left, followed by the other three.
Now I got to thinking. The ground where I have permission borders on to the land where I walk my dogs armed with just the camera. That land is home to a number of bucks, most of which have featured in the photos elsewhere on the forum. In particular there has been one very good buck and another that is smaller - in fact very similar to the two I'd just encountered. I couldn't be sure, but the suspicion started to form that perhaps I'd inadvertently shot one of the bucks of the adjacent ground.
Dawn this morning proved clear and bright, so with the four dogs in tow I walked down my normal track to the ground where I see the roe. Scanning four or five fields proved blank, with not even my favourite doe in sight. Turning for home, my attention was then caught by a buck, running across the field and scattering the dew on the grass.
He made his way to the hedge by the track where I was standing, coming through about 100 yards away and then pausing as he caught sight of me and the dogs (which were, of course, kept on leads ):
Sensing that he'd potentially run out of the frying pan and into the fire, he turned tail and disappeared into the wood:
Clearly our roe population is healthy and, whilst it's impossible to be 100% sure, at least it appears I've not dispatched all of my star performers when it comes to photos!