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Thread: Shooting Fallow Bucks

  1. #1

    Shooting Fallow Bucks

    Hi all, I would appreciate some input on whether or not to shoot Fallow Bucks before the rut. I don't shoot them on my permission on here in East Sussex but my neighbouring stalkers are, and I'm starting to think if you can't beat them join them ! I shoot prickets and occasional Sorrels but Bucks are rarely seen around here apart from during the rut and immediately after.

    What is classed as best practice ? Is it best to leave bucks till later on or just blast away like everyone else seems to be doing? Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Ff.

  2. #2
    No right or wrong way I suspect as with most things in nature and, of course it also depends on your management objectives, deer's range etc. The below is based on my relatively limited knowledge of the species.

    When I was with the FC in the New Forest on the fallow, as a rule they would go 'fat buck shooting' before the rut when they were in tip top condition and they could weed out as many mature bucks they didn't want to breed then. They would then leave them quiet during the rut to breed in peace (on historic rutting stands.) If you have rutting stands on your ground leaving the mature/master bucks alone on them during the rut might help you hold them if your neighbours are hitting them.
    Come mid November the FC keepers would then take out the 'small deer' (fawns) and prickets with the does along with any other undesirables that needed culling.

    When I managed a large piece of agricultural ground in Wiltshire it was a case of 'shoot on sight' as A. the farmer would not tolerate them in the standing crops and B. he was more tolerant of roe so I would rather have favoured them. Given the choice I would always try and take out the poor mature bucks (fish-talied antlered with that herd) before the rut though again as they were the ones most likely to breed (the most) and I didn't want them passing on their traits. It was based on the logic of the Commission keepers (not called Rangers in the ancient hunting forest) who I figured had managed their fallow population longer than most. The NF is, of course though quite a unique place.
    We had one rutting stand in a big old beech wood and as I loved to see them rut I have to admit to hanging around on the outside and shooting the odd pricket though without trying to disturb the master buck/s..
    Best of luck for the rut

  3. #3
    You can also argue a case that if the big lads are left alone, they will stop any new genetics entering the herd, and potentially hold very large numbers of females to just one male, so over time, you could say that by removing some of the larger animals, you have widened the gene pool and allowed some of the future big lads a chance to breed.
    this business of never shooting the biggest buck or stag doesn't really work anyway, once he's got to that size, he will invariably have had at least one if not several years of breeding to pass on his genes to the next generation, so it shouldn't matter.
    Its an age old question that unless you are very lucky to either have neighbours with the same mentality and approach as you, or a huge estate on which your deer are largely resident there will always be the issue of them walking onto the neighbours patch only to get shot.
    Bottom line, enjoy what you're doing, if you want to shoot a big animal, do it, this is a hobby after all (for most of us anyway) why should you never be allowed to take the biggest trophy, you can only do so much 'management' of a wild herd, besides which, taking out stags and bucks will never really manage a herd, hammering the females is the way to achieve that.
    Opinions are like arseholes....... we all have them, and most of them stink

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    Hi all, I would appreciate some input on whether or not to shoot Fallow Bucks before the rut. I don't shoot them on my permission on here in East Sussex but my neighbouring stalkers are, and I'm starting to think if you can't beat them join them ! I shoot prickets and occasional Sorrels but Bucks are rarely seen around here apart from during the rut and immediately after.

    What is classed as best practice ? Is it best to leave bucks till later on or just blast away like everyone else seems to be doing? Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Ff.
    Never mind 'best practise' or 'management of the herd' or what neighbouring stalkers are or are not up to.
    You should always in first instance refer to what the landowner's objections are - so put the question to him and than do what the landowner wants you to do.

    (OK, yes, in an ideal world neighbouring landowners and stalkers should work together when it comes to controlling Fallow - but this is not an ideal world)
    • Do not be seduced by the marketing-men....

  5. #5
    Depends on what you do your stalking for, recreational or to limit damage to landowners crops.
    I know most landowners would not be impressed if you allowed a deer to walk away just because of the size of his rack so unless you are doing your stalking with a need to keep the big bucks for your clients or for the good of the herd, (knowing that others don't care) then any buck is fair game.
    This is especially the case if you are surrounded by others who target any deer including the big bucks. There is also the case that if you pay rent for your shooting then you want to be taking every advantage to take out a deer including a large buck if it presents itself. If I take a client out then I like them to be able to sit there and wait for a buck to present itself and not have to worry about how much it is going to cost if they shoot something big. When I first started out, I was always afraid that I may shoot something out of my price range and so was always uncomfortable and never relaxed as I should have been.

    I am sure that there will be members on here stating that you should not target big bucks and leave them for the good of the herd and that would be the case if you had a large area of land and no neighbours shooting everything but in reality, I bet not all of them would let a nice buck walk past them if they had seen nothing else to shoot.

    Don't forget also that these mature bucks normally slink off to the deepest cover after the rut to recover and gain some weight for the coming winter so the rut is the best time to locate these beast.

    ​Elmer

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by NickJ View Post
    No right or wrong way I suspect as with most things in nature and, of course it also depends on your management objectives, deer's range etc. The below is based on my relatively limited knowledge of the species.

    When I was with the FC in the New Forest on the fallow, as a rule they would go 'fat buck shooting' before the rut when they were in tip top condition and they could weed out as many mature bucks they didn't want to breed then. They would then leave them quiet during the rut to breed in peace (on historic rutting stands.) If you have rutting stands on your ground leaving the mature/master bucks alone on them during the rut might help you hold them if your neighbours are hitting them.
    Come mid November the FC keepers would then take out the 'small deer' (fawns) and prickets with the does along with any other undesirables that needed culling.

    When I managed a large piece of agricultural ground in Wiltshire it was a case of 'shoot on sight' as A. the farmer would not tolerate them in the standing crops and B. he was more tolerant of roe so I would rather have favoured them. Given the choice I would always try and take out the poor mature bucks (fish-talied antlered with that herd) before the rut though again as they were the ones most likely to breed (the most) and I didn't want them passing on their traits. It was based on the logic of the Commission keepers (not called Rangers in the ancient hunting forest) who I figured had managed their fallow population longer than most. The NF is, of course though quite a unique place.
    We had one rutting stand in a big old beech wood and as I loved to see them rut I have to admit to hanging around on the outside and shooting the odd pricket though without trying to disturb the master buck/s..
    Best of luck for the rut
    A good reply from NickJ.

    Even when the main priority is to keep numbers down for the land owner there has to be a way to implement sufficient control before the rut as to remove the poor examples of 'fat bucks', leave the good ones to do their bit and then make up numbers after, albeit that come 1 November your priority should be does as they're the ones that really need controlling.

    We get out and shoot prickets in August (on stubbles in the evening is usually very productive) and through to early September then leave them and focus on cull bucks pre-rut and a few trophy bucks once we know they've been doing the business.

    Come 1 November we start into the does before they get disturbed too much by the peasant shooting and keep onto them along with youngsters and the odd pricket until the end of March. We then do some 'mopping up' on the bucks in April.

    Being transient in their movements, it is difficult with fallow as they don't recognise boundaries, but if your neighbours are walloping them then a little moderation and reasoned control on your part can't be a bad thing surely - unless you landowner is like one I know who thinks the only good fallow is a dead fallow!, and they will almost certainly make for the quieter areas given a choice so you may well reap the rewards of your neighbours enthusiasm early on.

    The decision is yours, read what everyone says and then make your own choice.

  7. #7
    Firefly im down your way & my policy for what its worth is to leave the good bucks ,regardless of what other people do . The vast majority of the bucks you see are poor fishtailed heads that will never be any good so when I do see a really good one , which is pretty rare ,its safe on my place . What other people do I cant comment on but if every one adopts the shot on sight policy to see a good one will be even harder .
    I accept that some people only get out occasionally so to keep the safety catch on is a big ask , i'm lucky i stalk three or four times a week so its easier for me to take this stance .I left a really good pricket yesterday , two nice long straight points , he could be one for the future ......

  8. #8
    Some great replies and usefull information. Thank you. My camera has revealed a few bucks over recent days. I've decided to shoot a couple of the lesser bucks and leave the big Fella alone, then review what's happening next season. Ff

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