Am I being Greedy?

Little Terry

Well-Known Member
Afternoon all,

I'm in a bit of a quandry over which Roe to shoot, bucks in particular.

Here's the background. I have been stalking for several years now and have had permission on my own ground for a year or so. There seems to be a good head of Roe, Fallow and some Muntjac and I have had numerous successful outings.

The land is a large arable farm in the midlands and short of formulating a formal management plan (which I intend to do with the help of some people from this site during the winter), I have the following poilcy: Shoot whatever Fallow that I can to reduce numbers significantly and hence reduce the current high level of damage to the growing arable crops. With regard to Roe, I want to be a bit more selective and slightly reduce current population, but not hammer them as much as the Fallow as they don't seem to be creating so much damage to the crop (Forestry is not a major concern here). I obviously want to improve the quality of the animals on the land accross the board.

So, onto the question itself: When it comes to the Roe, which bucks should I be shooting and which should I be leaving? The majority of bucks seem to fall into the 2-4 year old category from what I can make out and apart from a few that seem to be suffering from brittle antlers, they appear to all be healthy and well fed. There are a good crop of fawns this time and the male/female balance seems good (slightly more does than bucks), but I don't have many of what I would term 'old' bucks about.

Here are some pictures of the sort of bucks that I have been taking:

I am not an expert on ageing these animals by any means, certainly from 100 or more yards away, so am doing my best at educated guesses. The last one that I shot (pic #4), I feel may have been better left to breed on for a year or two longer, but the second you've pulled the trigger it's too late for second thoughts as we all know! The one in the third picture had a broken point and looked like he had 'peaked' already to me and the first two pictured here, I had labelled as young 'transient' bucks that were drifting around looking for territory.

What are the thoughts of you experienced lads and lasses out there? Admittedly the first few that I shot on this permission were not really 'selected', but shot because they presented an opportunity and I was excited about stalking on my own land and showing the landowner a result. Now I have settled into it a bit, I want to be more selective and not just shoot what moves (or doesn't as the case may be :) ).

A long-winded question I know, but hopefully you see what I am getting at. Interested to know what you think, positive or negative. And bear in mind, we all have to start somewhere! ;)

Thanks for reading,


Well-Known Member
If you get onto the Deer Commission for Scotland web site, and the Deer Initiative :oops: web site you can find lots of information on how to carry out a deer population census and setting objectives for the land in question.

You can then match up the deer numbers you have, to the numbers needed to allow to reach your objectives and set your cull targets from there.

It might be the case for instance that you don't need to shot any roe at all for a year or so, your census will tell you.


Distinguished Member

little terry nice post mate and very honest as well . i recently asked the same question at the cla game fair about ageing on the british deer society stand and one guy said you mean when its shot and on the ground i replied no befor you pull the trigger after a step back he went on to say about thick neck . big body . coronets slopeing etc . but as yo say in your post its a bit different a hundred yds away . on my patch here its all roe and we take out anything below the ears . and give anything else the benefit of the doubt . seems to be working with what were seeing about its all a learning curve and were all gonna make mistakes along the way happy stalking mark pete .[/list]


Well-Known Member
It is nearly impossible to tell the age of a deer before it is dead. I have shot one that looked like a 2 to 3 year old, then its milk teeth fell out when I inspected it, it was only a year old with 6 points. We have another on our ground that is a year old and again has a very good head.

You have got to look at body size and shape as well as the thickness of the neck.

As far as the management of deer are concerned, if you are trying to prevent damage from the fallow, you have to hit them hard and make a dent in the population. This should be done particularly on the females.

This should also be the case for the munties.

As for the roe, they will be causing some arable damage, but not a huge amount. If you want to reduce the population, you need to hit more females than males but it is not as simple as that. Firstly, you need to assess the amount of deer on your ground. Then you need to determine the amount of males to females, how many are old, how many are mature and how many immature. Do this in the spring after the worst of the weather and when winter mortality has hopefully subsided. Keeping a tally of deer seen in all areas each time you are out will also give a good indication of what you have. From there you need to work out how many young you are going to produce this year. You then have to decide if you are going to do a maintenance cull or a population reduction cull. When you have decided what type of cull plan, you then need to decide what animals to shoot. A good policy is to shoot 60% immature, 20% mature and 20% old. This would be done over both sexes. All ground is different and only the man on the ground will know how to tweak his plan to get the best from the deer.

Hitting the fallow should also improve the roe as there is more feed there for them. Keep an eye on body weights as well. Although heads may not improve, body weight may as your management plan goes on year after year.

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