Fallow bucks are more alert

Rob Mac

Well-Known Member
#1
I was out in the woods on Tuesday evening when I came across one of the big fallow bucks helping himself to wheat from a phesant feeder in a ride.

For some reason, it's very rare to actually see and even rarer to be able to watch the big boys for any time. They seem to be more alert and more easily spooked than the does. On Tuesday, I was in a good position under some trees about 120 yrds away with the wind in my face. After about 15/20 secs he swung around and look directly at me, then after a futher 10 secs casually walked off into the woods.

I've been in situations with does where I've got much closer and without such good cover, and they haven't been able to detect me. I'm convinced that bucks' senses are just that bit better.

But I suppose you don't get to become such a big handsome beast without taking a bit of care in the woods!
 
T

Turqu

Guest
#2
I think it has a lot to do with the more solitary life that they lead.

Does are usually never alone for very long. They have the advantage of all those multiple eyes and ears working in unison.

Where as big buck only become big bucks due their increasing wariness. As those that pretend to call themselves stalkers often shoot them on sight.
 

MarkH

Well-Known Member
#3
Its survival of the fittest. They are only able to grow a big rack of antlers if they dont let anyone shoot them :lol:

Mark
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#7
In the Forest of Dean it was sometimes very hard to see a big buck as they tended to live in the outlying woods rather than the main forest and were fairly nocturnal outside the rut.

I managed it a few times, mostly more by luck than judgement. One dead cert used to live in a small thicket on the extreme western edge of the forest from where you could see the Monmouth - Ross road. To see him I had to throw a stone for my dog to get her running down the hill into the thicket and then quickly run 100 yards to one side usually just in time to see the buck exit at the bottom and head out across the fields.

One of these big bucks was living in a 5 acre wood outside the forest which was on a rough shoot that I was a member of. Every time we shot there without fail, my mate's golden retriever would get on the tail of this buck which would exit the wood at the same spot with as much dignity as it could muster and head off across the fields with the retriever in pursuit. The dog was gone for up to half an hour, but never got close to the buck. After the third or fourth time that this happened you could almost see the buck thinking "here we go again!" He was a nice buck but he became sort a of pet and we wouldn't dream of taking the rifle to him.

The largest group of decent bucks that I saw was in March quite few years ago in a part of the forest with a lot of deer but usually only the odd mature buck. I came across a group of seven bucks all of which were 4 years old or more. To this day I have never seen so many big bucks in one place in the Forest of Dean.

In terms of getting close to big bucks I once tapped one on the back with my stick as he walked casually past me.

Incidentally the Forest of Dean bucks do not generally have great heads but can achieve very large body weights with bucks of up to 220lbs recorded, how does this compare to fallow elsewhere.
 
#8
Paul, there is a herd near me in Dorset, where the same old boy has had the stalking for years. There are 3 white hinds in the group, which are never shot, because it makes the buggers so much easier to spot ! Consequently they get to be a hell of a size. When you see one standing next to an average hind, there is a noticeable size difference
 
T

Turqu

Guest
#9
paul k said:
Incidentally the Forest of Dean bucks do not generally have great heads but can achieve very large body weights with bucks of up to 220lbs recorded, how does this compare to fallow elsewhere.
Paul

These 200lb plus bucks are these weights before or after the rut? Also are they larder weights or field dressed weights?

Either way they are still good body weights
 
T

Turqu

Guest
#10
Roger said:
There are 3 white hinds in the group, which are never shot, because it makes the buggers so much easier to spot !

They wouldn't last 5 minutes around here. It is our policy to shoot every white or light coloured Fallow on sight. If we don't, they just become targets for the deer poachers with their lurchers.
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#11
Turqu said:
paul k said:
Incidentally the Forest of Dean bucks do not generally have great heads but can achieve very large body weights with bucks of up to 220lbs recorded, how does this compare to fallow elsewhere.
Paul

These 200lb plus bucks are these weights before or after the rut? Also are they larder weights or field dressed weights?

Either way they are still good body weights
These bucks are fairly good illustrations of typical Dean bucks. The top one is one of the mainly dark bucks from the main forest and the lower one was shot in the Highmeadow Woods and was 15 stone 7lbs (217lbs) field dressed. I actually helped Edgar the ranger pull this one out.



This buck also displays the typical Dean antler shape, although a very big head. It has massive beams and palms but the palms are relatively short and split. As far as I know these were never measured but are clearly very large.

I have a set of antlers from a Dean buck which are 27" long but have very poor palms. Had they had anywhere near decent palms they would have a chance of a medal.
 
T

Turqu

Guest
#12
Paul

Reading the text that accompanies the photo it says it was in the late 60's early 70's. Do the bucks still make such weights?
 

MarkH

Well-Known Member
#16
Hi Guys

We still get some 'big bucks' on my patch.It took me three months hard work to get this buck who I shot in December. He would routinely couch-up in the brambles infront of my highseat with just the tips of his antlers showing. The moment the light totally went I would hear him get up and move off. Finally I think he got habituated to my presence and stood up 5 mins too early.
For a wild buck he was pretty heavy and the antlers are truly beautiful. We found his previous cast-off as a pair in a ditch, they are now on the front of the cabin.



Mark
 
#17
What age

At what age are fallow when they have the biggest heads?

If they live up to 16 years, my guess is that the biggest bucks must be between 10-14'ish. Is this right?

ATB

Stu
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#18
Turqu said:
Paul

Reading the text that accompanies the photo it says it was in the late 60's early 70's. Do the bucks still make such weights?
As some of the other posts have suggested, the main problem is the rate of culling (poaching) of big bucks. Really old or even mature bucks were always pretty scarce in the main forest, I used to spend hours in the area in the late 1960s and early 1970s watching deer and even then, during the rut, it was noticeable that relatively small (young) bucks were able to hold rutting stands through lack of competition and to see a fight was very rare. In those days there was very little paid stalking in the forest and most deer legally shot were culled by the FC rangers.

I must have spent hundreds of hours watching deer, mostly in the Highmeadow Woods, and in perhaps 10 years I saw only one buck with a head that would compete with a good Oxfordshire, Sussex or Devon buck but I saw quite a few bucks that would beat them on body weight. As I said in my first post, I have a fallow head that was shot in 1987 about a mile outside Monmouth that is 27" in length and that is a pretty good length for a fallow but the palms are pathetic.

The bigger bucks were always to be found outside the main forest in the outlying woods and this is possibly still the case. There is no reason to think that as long as a buck lives long enough, they would still reach these weights as the feeding and underlying geology are still the same. I do agree with apollo and Blaser that there are not enough old bucks these days to see carcasses generating these weights regularly.

One interesting thing is that there is a small enclosure at Wyastone Leys on the edge of the Highmeadow Woods in which some deer are (or certainly were) kept that were mostly wild Forest of Dean stock. In order to improve antler quality two bucks were bought in from Sussex in the early 1980s (not sure from where exactly but I don't think it was Petworth) and these had probably two ruts before they were both shot through the wire by poachers using a crossbow - I think just for the hell of it! Some of the progeny were let back out into the forest and may well have done something to improve antlers in the area.

One of the main problems with deer management in the area is that there is a very strong poaching community in the Monmouth area and the deer have suffered badly at their hands.

Having said that I'm sure that there are still some big bucks hidden away in the area but more likely out into Monmouthsire and down the Wye Valley than in the main forest.

To answer Stuart's question, I think that a fallow usually carries its best head at somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, after that it will start to go back.
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#19
MarkH said:
Hi Guys

We still get some 'big bucks' on my patch.It took me three months hard work to get this buck who I shot in December. He would routinely couch-up in the brambles infront of my highseat with just the tips of his antlers showing. The moment the light totally went I would hear him get up and move off. Finally I think he got habituated to my presence and stood up 5 mins too early.
For a wild buck he was pretty heavy and the antlers are truly beautiful. We found his previous cast-off as a pair in a ditch, they are now on the front of the cabin.



Mark
That's a nice buck. Without giving too much away - what general area of the country do you stalk in?
 

MarkH

Well-Known Member
#20
Hi Paul

I am in the North Cotswolds. Since I shot this beast I now leave all the good bucks alone. I doesnt get a lot better than this so I concentrate on prickets and does only (well in theory) :D

Mark
 

Top