Recent posts about numbers of Roe have made me realise that many people don't have a realistic idea of what sort of numbers a given piece of ground can be expected to hold.
Decided to write this in the hope it will maybe help some of you when looking at leases what you could reasonably expect to hold on the ground.
I am sure that everyone is aware that a given acreage of ground will only hold a certain amount
Most will also be aware that Roe self regulate their numbers once you reach that optimum number
by that I mean come May the young of both sexes are chased away from the best areas,these young have to take up residence somewhere if your population is high they may have to move off your ground if your ground is mixed good areas and not so good areas they will have to take up residence in the poor areas.
But what ever eventually your ground will reach its optimum number.
Now there are many ways of trying to calculate what your optimum number is from counting a sample area, walking them, trying to work it out by the amount of browse damage, dung counts etc. none are 100% accurate.
Now this is a simple method that though like those above is not 100% accurate its easy to work out.
Look at the amount of cover on the ground, not the fields where they may feed but the woods,
scrub areas, hedge bottoms etc.
Total the acreage of cover[ not the acreage of the ground] decide whether the ground is good or poor unless you are very lucky it will probably be a mixture of both.
Poor ground. open woods,not much shelter from the wind, or dark conifers no light reaching the forest floor, disturbance by walkers or dogs
Good ground Thick undergrowth, shelter from the weather, little disturbance, areas they can browse in bad weather without needing to venture into the open.
Poor ground may hold as little as 1 Roe per 25 acres
The very best ground can sustain a population of 1 Roe per 5 acres
A lot of ground will fall somewhere between the two figures, you may also have an area where Roe are feeding but not living on your ground, or you may benefit from the influx of young from your neighbours in May, but at best these populations are transient and while it makes sense to harvest them they should not be considered when estimating what the ground can hold.
Many people over estimate what they can hold, as you can see if you have 500 acres of mixed woodland with plenty of feeding areas its possible to sustain a population of around a 100 Roe
Likewise if you have 500 acres of arable land but it only has 20 acres of sparse open woodland
it may only hold 1 resident Roe if any.