questions from a new member

#1
Hello,
I am a new member on this forum. I live in Michigan in the USA, and am an avid outdoorsman. I have been enjoying lurking around here for a bit and learning something about deer stalking in the UK. I am quite curious about some of the shooting practices and regulations that exist in your country, and I have found this website to be most helpful. I would like to ask a few questions to clarify some things that are still unclear to me.

1) I am especially interested in the way that game animals are managed in your country. Here in the US the state and national governments have a large role in the management of deer and other game populations are managed. It seems from my reading that local land owners have a lot of autonomy to manage their herds as they see fit. Is this impression correct?

2) I am surprised to learn of the (relatively) many species of deer that you all enjoy in the UK. I am interested in knowing more about the local attitudes there on the introduced species of deer. Obviously, many of these species are naturalized by this time. Do local wildlife managers have a basically positive attitude toward these naturalized species? Is anyone bothered by their impact on the ecosystem or is it too late to be bothered with such issues?

3) I am intrigued by the roe deer. It seems very similar in many ways to our native whitetails. I had the chance to observe some of these deer in the wild in my visits to Germany and they reminded me very much of smallish whitetails in look and behavior. Can anyone speak to the similarities and differences between whitetail and roe hunting (stalking)? How do they compare as far as the wariness of the animal and the challenge of the hunt?

Sorry for the long post. I have many more questions but do not want to tax your bandwidth more than I should ;). If anyone has time to answer any of my questions then I would be delighted. Thanks for the opportunity to learn more about deer stalking in the UK.
-Dan
 

swampy

Account Suspended
#2
hello

welcome aboard mate. i am sure you will find the answers you need, but not from me this morning! i don't have time

swampy
 

geoshot

Well-Known Member
#3
Hi MIDan,
Welcome to the site buddy.
I was on Vancouver Island in September and from what I saw there the island strain of whitetail are an almost exact match for our roe deer in size, reactions to people and preferred habitat. Even the rifles used for hunting them are similar with .243 &308win predominating, though being close to the USA plenty of 30-06 gets used too. They even taste the same.
From what I've seen in other states our reds and your whitetail are similar sized beasts, though different species entirely.
There is some hostility to introduced species here, especially with regards to the various sub-species of Sika which can hybridise readily with reds. Muntjac get an easier time unless they get out of control in sensitive or protected areas like ancient woodland. Most hunters like them cos they breed fast, don't take up much room and can be difficult little guys to find and stop sometimes, so they can be fun if they are controlled properly.
If you read other threads on the forum, look at deer welfare for a start, you'll pick up on most of what you need.

All the best and tell us what you hunt at home some time.
Geoshot
 

wadashot

Account Suspended
#4
Hello MIDan and welcome.

You ask about the management of deer in this country. As a rule it is the landowners responsibility to keep deer numbers to such a level that they do not conflict with the environment, sensitive areas, other animal species and also people. If a landowner does not keep his deer numbers in check, then our government agency (DEFRA) has the power to send stalkers in to cull deer down to more managable numbers. This happened a couple of years ago on Glenfeshie estate in Scotland but was not welcomed by the gamekeeping and stalking fraternity at all, and to top it off, the estate will be charged to have this done.

The forestry commission for which i have done work for have full time wildlife rangers who cull deer within their beat constantly throughout the year and could require deer numbers in excess of 200+ per ranger but mainly through the autumn and winter months.

In the UK we are allowed to shoot as many deer as we want throughout the year so long as it`s in season and we have permission to do so unlike yourselves who SEEM to have to get a ticket or card, i have never been to the USA so you will have to forgive me if i`m wrong. If this is true, is it just on government owned land that this applies?.

As you will probably know, we have Red, Roe, Fallow,Sika,Muntjac and Chinese water deer in this country with only the first TWO being strictly British and the others being brought in as park and estate specimens and subsequently escaping.

I hope this gives you a little bit more of an insight into our shooting and am sure lots more people will fill you in with other parts of your questions.

wadashot
 
K

Kent

Guest
#5
Never stalked whitetails but have observed them when fishing in the states. The whitetails i saw were more similar to a smaller fallow. in level of spookyness they seem very akin to our roe and i think Roe are our best looking deer ( actually i think the same of your whitetails) Gorget patches are common on Roe as white tails and i think this adds to the looks factor.
I live in the North West of England and our Roe are in the main desended from re-introductions from Belgian stock that were released onto and Island on Lake windermere and subsequently swam ashore. English Roe were mainly hunted out i believe. With pockets surviving in the South and Scotland. Obviously these Scotish Roe have also helped repopulate my area.
For more information on the Roe Deer read The Roe Deer conservation of a native species by Richard Prior. Published by Swan Hill Press ISBN 1 85310 532 5 (this tells you everything you could ever want to know about Roe deer
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#6
Kent said:
Never stalked whitetails but have observed them when fishing in the states. The whitetails i saw were more similar to a smaller fallow. in level of spookyness they seem very akin to our roe and i think Roe are our best looking deer ( actually i think the same of your whitetails) Gorget patches are common on Roe as white tails and i think this adds to the looks factor.
I live in the North West of England and our Roe are in the main desended from re-introductions from Belgian stock that were released onto and Island on Lake windermere and subsequently swam ashore. English Roe were mainly hunted out i believe. With pockets surviving in the South and Scotland. Obviously these Scotish Roe have also helped repopulate my area.
For more information on the Roe Deer read The Roe Deer conservation of a native species by Richard Prior. Published by Swan Hill Press ISBN 1 85310 532 5 (this tells you everything you could ever want to know about Roe deer
According to Whitehead, the roe in England were probably never quite hunted out with a few survivors in the enclosed area of Petworth Park in Sussex augmented by a couple of Scottish introductions and a possible introduction from an unknown source by Lord Egremont in the early 1800s.

These deer apparently became the source for most of the roe in Southern England today although there are differences in antler shape from area to area that possibly suggest otherwise.

There was an introduction of German roe to East Anglia which are the origin of the deer of that area and those that spread up into Lincolnshire. These are of noticeably poorer general quality than the typical UK roe.

Indigenous Scottish roe have certainly pushed a long way south into Northern England and the Lakes and, although the spread of roe elsewhere in the UK has almost certainly been "helped", apart from the Belgian stock on Windemere, there is nothing to suggest that any more of the antecedants of today's deer are from outside these islands.

Although fallow are an introduced species and most current populations originate from park escapees, some populations are much longer standing and may go back to William the Conqueror or even to Roman times. They have certainly been with us as a wild animal for over 1,000 years.
 
#7
Thanks for all the good replies!

I did mean to offend by insinuating that roe are undersized! I was merely reporting my impressions from pictures, a little personal experience of German roe deer, and a bit of reading. My impressions of roe deer are colored by my own experience with whitetails in the northern part of the US. Here our deer tend to grow a bit larger than whitetails generally do in the south. Apparently this is an adaptation to the harsher winters. Here a good sized buck can reach upward of 100 kg (although this is not common). Of course as any good hunter knows size is not everything. The challenge of the stalk, appreciation of the animal, and the reward of a clean kill are what are truly important in my opinion.

Wow, so it is legal to shoot as many deer as you would like in open season?! I suppose this is balanced by the preferences of the landowner and good management in general. It sounds like a good deal for you UK deer stalkers! Such a system would not likely work here in the US (at least in Michigan) since we have so many hunters. There would be no deer left! We are currently limited to two bucks a year, with opportunities for does in some counties.

About my own hunting interests, I hunt whitetails, ruffed grouse, pheasants, and rabbits on a regular basis. I also do a little wild turkey, squirrel, and coyote hunting. I plan on going on my first black bear hunt in the next year or two. I also like to fish, hike, camp, shoot archery, and sail. Too many pastimes and not enough time to pass!
 

JH83

Well-Known Member
#8
Hello,

Quite the reverse over here, as generally we struggle to control the number of deer, as the population of deer seems to rise year on year despite our best efforts! In certain areas in the south of England the population has exploded, and car strikes are a real problem, as is damage to regeneration. The deer numbers are partly attributed to our increasingly mild climate resulting in fewer winter fatalities and better grazing, for more of the year.

You are quite correct in saying that Roe are a great deal smaller than your Whitetails-a really good Roe buck weighs around 55lb, although they can look a lot bigger in winter coat. I have shot yearlings under 25lbs. Our red stags get pretty large, 400lb+, but not quite Elk size!

The Roe is a enigmatic and intriguing little deer amd one that has had a great deal written on it, as another has said already you cannot beat Richar Priors books.

Good shooting.

James
 
K

Kent

Guest
#9
Hey don't get the wrong impresion you look after your game and fish a heck of a great deal better than we do. From my experiance deer can be just as numerous over your side of the pond!

Sure we have issues with overpopulation in some areas but this is purely because it is not everyones right to go and have a go, this also applies to vermin species. It is up to the landowner or holder of the shooting rights to deside who shoots what if and when. It comes from the old fudal system that your forfarthers fought us about.
 

monynut

Well-Known Member
#11
MIDan

Hello and welcome to the site.

We do have government run initiatives here but the deer and their control/management is down to the owner of the land they are on, this can be a deer management group a syndicate or an individual or the stalking rights will be leased off, usually the latter usually happens on land controlled by the forestry commission and other organisations with a larger acreage in hand, also as has been said the government will step in to reduce numbers and charge for the service but basically as l said the onus is on the land owner to do what ever they see fit to control/manage the deer, we have no compulsive training and there are qualifications that can be gained and a lot of stalking can not be obtained if no qualification can be proved the usual is DSC level 1 and 2.

We have 6 species of deer here the large species are Red deer, Fallow deer and Sika deer the smaller species are Roe deer, muntjac and Chinese water deer of the 6 only 2 are native Red and Roe, Fallow were introduced by the Normans (l think) and are widely represented throughout the country, sika have mainly established themselves as a result of park escapees and are also quite widely represented,
Muntjac and cwd again are escapees and are confined to the south at the moment but are increasing their range. The sika will hybridise with the Red which is a worrying factor, on many Red deer forests the sika will be controlled hard to reduce this hybridisation, the muntjac is the only species that are subject to an open season 12 months a year for either sex they have no set rut so therefore no specific time for fawning and this can occur every 7 months with a mature doe, they are fascinating little creatures and can be very challenging to stalk obviously winter is the best time to get to grips with them.

The roe is well represented throughout the country and the history of this charming little deer has been well covered already, l cant really comment on similarities between your whitetails and the roe, l have a couple of American friends who have stalked roe with me and neither commented on any similarities between the two, though from what l have read there are a few.

Hope you enjoy the forum it’s a good bunch of contributors on here and a wealth of experience and knowledge to be had.
 
#13
Thank you for recommending that book Kent. I will put it on my wishlist. I wasn’t going to bring up the butt-kicking…you never know who might still be bitter ;). Overall the management here is pretty good, considering that the DNR has to regulate the activities of 700,000 deer hunters in this state alone. Having this many deer hunters is good for the continued political support of hunting, however.

Hi Gunslinger! I am a big fan of the Traverse area. I have some family there and usually visit Sleeping Bear at least once a year (for the last seven years at least) to take a hiking trip to North Manitou. I actually live in downtown Detroit at the moment, but have some roots around the Muskegon area. I hope to move up north when my studies are finished.

It is interesting to hear many of you discuss the ancestry of your local deer populations. I think this knowledge of the quarry’s genealogy is a true sign of enthusiasm.

Thanks for all the warm welcomes. I hope to learn as much as I can from all of you British deer stalkers about deer and shooting in the UK.
-Dan
 
K

Kent

Guest
#14
yeah, about the butt kicking a lot of those that fought were Brits fighting Brits were they not? How can we feel bitter you got a constitution and Bill of rights. Meanwhile we have an elected dictatorship.
 
#15
I haven't been to the Dunes in a while, probably because I live so close to them now, but I used to walk them every year when I was a kid.

I originally came from Midland and moved up here about 10 years ago. It is certainly beautiful country.

You've found a great forum here by the way. These guys talk a little funny, but they're all right.
 
#16
Any opinions on this book?

Roe Deer: Management and Stalking
By Richard Prior, 2000
ISBN: 1840371382

It is much less expensive for me than the Prior book a few of you have recommended. Is the recommended 1995 book entitled Roe Deer: Conservation of a Native Species a better read for a roe novice (but not deer novice) like me? I don’t mind paying more if it is a more informative book.
-Dan
 
K

Kent

Guest
#18
Depends what you are looking for if it the Natural history of the Roe and it's related sub-species in Europe Asia Consevation is a superb book. If it is knoledge you seek That is why i recomended it.
If you mainly want to know about meathods to shoot them then Roe Deer management and stalking is better by the same author. Consevation of a native species is a big book hence it will take some time to read
Tengers book is good but a little dated now
trees and deer is more aimed at forestry management
Anything By Prior is to be recomended the man is respected for his knoledge all over Europe.
 
#19
Thanks Kent. Given what you have said I think I will purchase your original recommendation, since natural history is a good starting place.

Thanks 300wsm for the other recommendations. I will move on to your other recommendations when I am finished with Conservation of a Native Species.
 

Top