# Thread: Roe numbers

1. ## Roe numbers

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
of animals.

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.

2. The calculations on numbers is not an enviable task nor is it a true science as some roe numbers get to unrealistic amounts with out showing any ill effects. These areas also have Roe deer that become more tolerant as the years pass and the numbers increase familiarity dose not always breed contempt. Still good post what we need to do now is teach what is good ground and what is not. Also that ground changes as the years pass. New woodland is a prime example it can hold little in its first year by year two and three it is hold good numbers by 4 5 6 it is at max number then by year seven will canopy and there is then little feed.

3. Originally Posted by 6pointer
The calculations on numbers is not an enviable task nor is it a true science as some roe numbers get to unrealistic amounts with out showing any ill effects. These areas also have Roe deer that become more tolerant as the years pass and the numbers increase familiarity dose not always breed contempt. Still good post what we need to do now is teach what is good ground and what is not. Also that ground changes as the years pass. New woodland is a prime example it can hold little in its first year by year two and three it is hold good numbers by 4 5 6 it is at max number then by year seven will canopy and there is then little feed.
Very true Davie, and its not an exact science but as a rule of thumb it will give an idea of what a piece of ground
could be expected to hold.

4. An interesting thread with good information and insight. As a newbie to stalking, thanks for the input.

5. fantastic explanation something i will never forget

6. Originally Posted by bogtrotter

The very best ground can sustain a population of 1 Roe per 5 acres
1 Roe per 4.95 acres on my ground

7. So if any one is looking to pay for a nice large arable farm to lease of say 500 acres this will hold approximately 100 Roe and to sustain the population a third should be removed the cull would need to take in poachers and roads. but 25 would seem to be a good number. 5-8 being removed by other means.
Should give some one an idea of what its worth.

8. The Roe in my area seem to move into any available area they can get, there doesn't seem to be much of a devide between good ground and bad. Often quiet areas are favoured over areas with what would be concidered better feeding.

This last winter we've counted 37 on a small Carrot field with a big spruce wood bordering it, 27 on a steep open sided hill bordering the heather with only sparse gorse for cover and 23 on a flat valley floor covered in stubble with no trees for over a mile, they use the drainage ditches and reed patches for cover. All very different ground but still lots of deer.

9. Having spent 4 years counting a variety of species in a variety of ways I am pretty confident NO-ONE knows how many deer are on their, or anyone else's ground for that matter.

This is a pet peeve of mine when "cull figures" are mentioned.
They are a "wet finger in the air" at best, rarely reviewed on a regular basis and are reactionary to sightings and actual deer shot.

I have seen forests driven and the number of deer coming out are double what are expected, similarly I have seen areas of "good" ground that hold very few deer.

far too many factors involved and the boundaries we work to are not the boundaries deer work to.
Some deer tolerate mass invasions of foresters, picnicers and campers.
others will never be seen again

I was part of a forestry syndicate that had a cull target of 36 deer (roe)
In three years this had not been hit, mostly due to the limited number of outings and limited success.
The ground was a mixture of large open rides and "glades", grassland margins and dense coniferous forestry.

In 12 months I spent 18 days on the ground, I covered every inch of it and put up two trail cameras.
I counted 21 visual sightings and 11 audible (barking)
The trail cameras were put up because I am convinced we had regular visitors. unfortunately the one on the road moved and ended up being aimed to high and whilst it recorded 300+ photos in a month, none showed the road!!

Point is the FC have specialist firms/agencies/educational establishments who will come in and attempt to count the deer population on a quantitative basis with numerous methods and people to throw at it.
They are still way off in their estimations (and that is all they are).

Only by visiting a site very regularly and over a long period of time can you assess what deer may be on your land over a year.
shoot too many and you will see less
shoot too few and you will see more.

you have to accept that you are not the only limiting factor and move with the other pressures on the population

10. +1.

Also,your ground will hold differing numbers of deer in summer and in winter, depending not only on what feed you have on your ground, but also what feed you neighbour has on his ground.

I note 6P's earlier post suggesting ca 100 Roe to be expected on a 500 acre arable ground (I might have read this wrong!) ! Up with us, 500 acres is quite a small-ish piece of ground and there is NO WAY that 500 acres of arable ground here would hold anything like 100 beasts.

Of course there will be a huge geographical variation. ie from the plush, fertile 'shires' of England, to the not so plush and fertile scratching of muck we have with us.

Really is pie in the sky figures....

In my humble opinion the best way to estimate you numbers is by lamping; and then this only gives you an estimation of what you have on your ground AT THAT TIME... only a snap-shot.

Best Regards

CVK

Originally Posted by bewsher500
Having spent 4 years counting a variety of species in a variety of ways I am pretty confident NO-ONE knows how many deer are on their, or anyone else's ground for that matter.

This is a pet peeve of mine when "cull figures" are mentioned.
They are a "wet finger in the air" at best, rarely reviewed on a regular basis and are reactionary to sightings and actual deer shot.

I have seen forests driven and the number of deer coming out are double what are expected, similarly I have seen areas of "good" ground that hold very few deer.

far too many factors involved and the boundaries we work to are not the boundaries deer work to.
Some deer tolerate mass invasions of foresters, picnicers and campers.
others will never be seen again

I was part of a forestry syndicate that had a cull target of 36 deer (roe)
In three years this had not been hit, mostly due to the limited number of outings and limited success.
The ground was a mixture of large open rides and "glades", grassland margins and dense coniferous forestry.

In 12 months I spent 18 days on the ground, I covered every inch of it and put up two trail cameras.
I counted 21 visual sightings and 11 audible (barking)
The trail cameras were put up because I am convinced we had regular visitors. unfortunately the one on the road moved and ended up being aimed to high and whilst it recorded 300+ photos in a month, none showed the road!!

Point is the FC have specialist firms/agencies/educational establishments who will come in and attempt to count the deer population on a quantitative basis with numerous methods and people to throw at it.
They are still way off in their estimations (and that is all they are).

Only by visiting a site very regularly and over a long period of time can you assess what deer may be on your land over a year.
shoot too many and you will see less
shoot too few and you will see more.

you have to accept that you are not the only limiting factor and move with the other pressures on the population

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