Tomc1990

Well-Known Member
Hi All,

We've got a permission where the Fallow deer are VERY unpredictable and difficult to catch up with. We've recently put out a series of trail cameras and they are regularly picking up the Fallow out grazing in fields at midnight... Is normal, or do we have nocturnal deer?

Thanks

Tom
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
Uncle f hit the nail on the head with his comment.
Also someone else put a comment on here sometime back, in that Fallow are possibly the most mismanaged deer out of all the species. Another comment I would pretty much agree with. Many prickets are shot that potentially would make a good buck, but many think a pricket is just that. However a beast with good spikes over 7 or 8 inches long could potentially make a good buck in years to come. But they seem to get shot either way, in most cases to keep numbers down.

Just about where ever Fallow are shot they become nocturnal pretty quickly. They are very good at hiding away on areas where they never get touched, and laying up for the day. This is usually in large groups, even more so in the period between late November and into late February. This adds to the issue of control as its much harder to get a shot, and even if in position its in many cases made harder by the fact that there are no clear shots on an individual animal. In my area we have an abundance of Rhodedendron, which is a nightmare to deal with, the Fallow love it. Plenty of cover, warm, dry and no need to come out until the light fades.

However they can be predictable at times, as they can move from one area to another on a regular basis. This takes time to investigate, and if you do strike on them its only usually possible once or twice. They very soon learn. The way to manage your numbers is to get straight onto them in early November, a soon as the does are in and the rut is over. They tend to be a bit easier to get onto to and in smaller numbers, not the large herds you can get in late winter.
 

75

Well-Known Member
+1 to sikamalc (and he knows better than most!). In areas where they were badly managed, I'd often see big herds sitting out in the sun in areas where they couldn't be (or weren't shot!) but they would only move around after dark in areas where they were. I used to have more success on one bit of ground at dawn when they were returning from feeding - they'd often come back in smaller groups rather than the big herds you'd see sunning themselves.
 

Tomc1990

Well-Known Member
Uncle f hit the nail on the head with his comment.
Also someone else put a comment on here sometime back, in that Fallow are possibly the most mismanaged deer out of all the species. Another comment I would pretty much agree with. Many prickets are shot that potentially would make a good buck, but many think a pricket is just that. However a beast with good spikes over 7 or 8 inches long could potentially make a good buck in years to come. But they seem to get shot either way, in most cases to keep numbers down.

Just about where ever Fallow are shot they become nocturnal pretty quickly. They are very good at hiding away on areas where they never get touched, and laying up for the day. This is usually in large groups, even more so in the period between late November and into late February. This adds to the issue of control as its much harder to get a shot, and even if in position its in many cases made harder by the fact that there are no clear shots on an individual animal. In my area we have an abundance of Rhodedendron, which is a nightmare to deal with, the Fallow love it. Plenty of cover, warm, dry and no need to come out until the light fades.

However they can be predictable at times, as they can move from one area to another on a regular basis. This takes time to investigate, and if you do strike on them its only usually possible once or twice. They very soon learn. The way to manage your numbers is to get straight onto them in early November, a soon as the does are in and the rut is over. They tend to be a bit easier to get onto to and in smaller numbers, not the large herds you can get in late winter.
That is really helpful, thank you. Do you have better luck getting onto them via highseat or on foot?
 

Pete6.5

Well-Known Member
They might be on your ground late because they have travel a reasonable distance as well. The best way to deal with it is fencing. It doesn't have to be deer fencing it can also be good stock fencing it won't stop them but it definitely reduces the numbers on your ground.
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
How's that working out for them that do so? And here's me shooting only females to try to reduce the population?

Not sure what you are getting at? Some people have small areas to stalk and shoot Fallow knowing they may not get another chance in the near future. There are many reasons I would assume. Besides straight after the rut as a rule there are always prickets running around, and often with does. Its not until a bit later on that one sees mostly does with that years fawns in large herds.
True its the does that need thinning out in many areas, but its not for me to say who shoots what on their ground.
 

The fourth Horseman

Well-Known Member
Spot on Malc, we have the same problem. Large herds 100 pairs of watchful eyes and rarely on the same bits of the estate with no set pattern.
There are so many well worn runs through hedges everywhere, but the only time they are used is after dark. I only observe them at night when we are lampng bunnies or the odd fox. I have stalked them all my life and still haven't got a real handle on the sods.
At the moment we have an awful lot of prickets but most are caramelized lumps rather than spikes, will have to take a few next month.
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
Spot on Malc, we have the same problem. Large herds 100 pairs of watchful eyes and rarely on the same bits of the estate with no set pattern.
There are so many well worn runs through hedges everywhere, but the only time they are used is after dark. I only observe them at night when we are lampng bunnies or the odd fox. I have stalked them all my life and still haven't got a real handle on the sods.
At the moment we have an awful lot of prickets but most are caramelized lumps rather than spikes, will have to take a few next month.

Yep those type of Prickets are the ones that want thinning out. They will never make a decent buck. Finding areas with very good Fallow Bucks on, in the wild is not easy these day. One only has to look at the measurement lists at years end. Dont see many Fallow measured as a rule.
 

The fourth Horseman

Well-Known Member
Yep those type of Prickets are the ones that want thinning out. They will never make a decent buck. Finding areas with very good Fallow Bucks on, in the wild is not easy these day. One only has to look at the measurement lists at years end. Dont see many Fallow measured as a rule.

No our bucks are generally pretty poor heads. A few years back had some medals from both Glos and Warwks, with good management. I haven't a clue what they are like now, but I know the good Roe heads on the Glos estate where I worked all got shot when the stalking was let instead of in hand.
 

stubear

Well-Known Member
Something I've found that can be helpful if they are hard to catch up with is to park yourself in a seat in an area where there are slots and just wait.

If the ground is muddy and you can see fresh slots then generally it would indicate fallow are there and moving about. If you sit and wait long enough then you might get a shot.

But as others have said once you've shot one of the group you've educated the rest and they will quickly change their pattern of behaviour to avoid this new danger area.

I had this a couple of years back on our bit of ground near home - Had a group of fallow the gamekeeper kept seeing in the same place so I sat up in a seat in that area for a couple of outings and got a doe out of the group. And I didnt see fallow there for a while after that to be honest.
 

The fourth Horseman

Well-Known Member
Something I've found that can be helpful if they are hard to catch up with is to park yourself in a seat in an area where there are slots and just wait.

If the ground is muddy and you can see fresh slots then generally it would indicate fallow are there and moving about. If you sit and wait long enough then you might get a shot.

But as others have said once you've shot one of the group you've educated the rest and they will quickly change their pattern of behaviour to avoid this new danger area.

I had this a couple of years back on our bit of ground near home - Had a group of fallow the gamekeeper kept seeing in the same place so I sat up in a seat in that area for a couple of outings and got a doe out of the group. And I didnt see fallow there for a while after that to be honest.

Sometimes works Stu, but we have runs with fresh slots where you could sit for a year without seeing one. Simply because they go that way in the dark.
Our policy now is a little sitting in high seats, a lot of driving and looking, and then long stalks in. At the moment they are all in bunches of 40 plus, so very hard going. Fallow in big woodland are a lot easier than in open land with small woods and having stalked Reds, Sika, Roe and Fallow as a job I find Fallow the hardest.
 

Freeforester

Well-Known Member
No our bucks are generally pretty poor heads. A few years back had some medals from both Glos and Warwks, with good management. I haven't a clue what they are like now, but I know the good Roe heads on the Glos estate where I worked all got shot when the stalking was let instead of in hand.
Would this (the quality of pricket heads) be attributable to eg larger numbers/stress of numbers, or 'poor' feeding? I know that fallow does would be/are among the hardest animals to get to terms with in the land, and probably beyond the ability/scope of the average amateur/casual stalker to deal with effectively, and can foresee the FCS deer advisors or replacement DI bods pushing for greater collaborative culls over landscape scale areas, much like SNH do up here.

I'm not at all suggesting that anyone shoot or indeed do anything against their wishes, but I think this will be coming along from someone or some authority body, sooner or later; I'd imagine too that sooner or later night shooting is going to be advocated S of the border (and will rapidly become the routine first option "last resort" that the authority (which may not even have milk teeth yet) will draw on, as is the case nationwide north of the border. Just an opinion, but everyone recognises the economic vagaries of planting more trees without attempting to reduce numbers, and the powers that be seem to be pushing for more trees to be planted nationally.
 

The fourth Horseman

Well-Known Member
Would this (the quality of pricket heads) be attributable to eg larger numbers/stress of numbers, or 'poor' feeding? I know that fallow does would be/are among the hardest animals to get to terms with in the land, and probably beyond the ability/scope of the average amateur/casual stalker to deal with effectively, and can foresee the FCS deer advisors or replacement DI bods pushing for greater collaborative culls over landscape scale areas, much like SNH do up here.

I'm not at all suggesting that anyone shoot or indeed do anything against their wishes, but I think this will be coming along from someone or some authority body, sooner or later; I'd imagine too that sooner or later night shooting is going to be advocated S of the border (and will rapidly become the routine first option "last resort" that the authority (which may not even have milk teeth yet) will draw on, as is the case nationwide north of the border. Just an opinion, but everyone recognises the economic vagaries of planting more trees without attempting to reduce numbers, and the powers that be seem to be pushing for more trees to be planted nationally.
To be quite honest haven't a clue about the poor heads generally in the area. Feeding is good but could be short of calcium.
I see where you are coming from with regard to the new FC posts after the closure of the DI and having worked North of the border I recognise similar characteristics.
Personally collaborative culls don't sit too well with me as the deer become even more skittish during and after the cull. We tend to go quietly about things and get better results than we have when being collaborative. Fortunately the owners of the estate trust my judgement and do not like the collaborative cull idea anyway. We are part of a deer management group and submit our results each year which seem to fit in with other results for areas of similar size.
By the time we are being told how to do things and out of season and night shooting are in, I will probably be round in the churchyard and not too worried about it.
 

Border

Well-Known Member
I would imagine, although light years away from being an expert, that unless all land is included in group culls there would be extensive "sancturies" where no shooting takes place, that they would naturally gravitate towards. Only moving to and from it under cover of darkness. Often owned by the anti shooting establishment, no doubt.
 

Freeforester

Well-Known Member
To be quite honest haven't a clue about the poor heads generally in the area. Feeding is good but could be short of calcium.
I see where you are coming from with regard to the new FC posts after the closure of the DI and having worked North of the border I recognise similar characteristics.
Personally collaborative culls don't sit too well with me as the deer become even more skittish during and after the cull. We tend to go quietly about things and get better results than we have when being collaborative. Fortunately the owners of the estate trust my judgement and do not like the collaborative cull idea anyway. We are part of a deer management group and submit our results each year which seem to fit in with other results for areas of similar size.
By the time we are being told how to do things and out of season and night shooting are in, I will probably be round in the churchyard and not too worried about it.
I quite agree with your approach, you are also fortunate in that you are working away (quietly :thumb: )at getting the job done over time and not applying too much pressure at any given point, which is where deer tend to turn into ghosts. If you are able to get on top of the females (!) so much the better, as this tends to relieve the pressure on the males (!!), and gives them a mouthful or two more, and a chance to develop. Goodness knows, there is already a great deal of pressure on any mature male deer over great swathes of the land, and while I can understand any casual stalkers wishing to bag a buck or fill the freezer, it all too often tends to result in a race to the bottom, with a dearth of good mature bucks, the type best fitted for passing on genes.

Tragedy of the commons, it seems it is always easier to shoot a male than a female on too many occasions, the results of which tend to exacerbate population problems at both ends of the candle (more deer, fewer mature bucks).

A new DMG was set up here not so long ago; all were gee'd up to take up cudgels, and while they battered down a few in the first season, now they are ghosts, and the collaborators are left wondering what to do next.... it seems nobody wants to work with nature these days, only against, and it doesn't help when the driving authority sets unrealistic timescales and cull targets, but of course they aren't deer men either.
 

1894

Well-Known Member
Sadly efforts can be undone by neighbours. If locql fields are overshot it has an effect on your well shot fields.

Dormitary areas are precious. If you have any treat them carefully with infrequent stalks
 

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