Which Buck to take?


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I'm responsible for the deer management of my girlfriends family farm. As it's the rut for roe bucks,I' like to make sure that future generations of deer in the area come from "good stock". I'll be looking out for bucks with a stagger,or affected gait,naturally,Also I'll be observing their antlers to ensure they dont have deformities, What I need to know in detail is which bucks need to be culled in order of priority?
I anticipate that I'll be out with the binoculars first to find a suitable "cull beast" So advice would be gratefully recieved. -D.


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Where are you? The rut hasnt started here yet, itll be a few weeks but times passing quickly. Only time will let you know which of the bucks is best let alone. Ive 2 good beasts on my patch that Ive seen and 1 is an old chap so Im planning to take him out. Hes grey in the muzzle and his antlers are sloping back unless Im mistaken he is past his prime but the other is a good fit beast with good proud antlers. The 2 are near the march fence and I think their territory crosses the march so even the good buck will be taken at the end of the rut but ill let him do his buisness 1st.



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Hi Dl,
Note you are looking to cull bucks with a stagger or abnormal gait.Could you be more specific? The signs you are describing could be a copper deficiency.I have only seen it in farmed Red Deer so far but would be very interested in Roe.PM me directly if you like.


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M, Thanks for your point, as I'm new to stalking I'm looking for the most straight forward indications that a buck is right to take. If they're healthy & in good condition I'll leave them alone.
So I'd really be looking for bucks that are 'going back' & are lame. If I get word from expirienced stalkers that there's any notable copper deficiency I'll PM you as soon as it's been confirmed. Thanks -DL


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cull selection

Hi DL,
Culling is a tough job and has to be done with an eye on what you and the farmer/gameshhot captain wants.

I have some ground that has had sparse numbers of deer on it historically. I have shot only a couple of bucks off it each year for the last few years. this year there seems to be loads of deer on there. So my cull plan will have to change. I will take all the young bucks i see now, older bucks after the rut then i will have to take some does this year. I reckon i might go tonight now i am thinking of it!

if i don't then the shoot captain will get ****ed off about deer wrecking his drives, the keeper will get ****ed off about his game strips getting stuffed and feeders knocked over and I will be on my ear!

But a couple of years of careful yearling buck only policy seems to have paid off big time.



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Thanks for the advice, I only passed my DSC1 a fortnight ago. Allthough I've been bogged down with work since then,I'm really keen to get out & have a look at the roe buck numbers.
I've tried to find the details of the stalker that used to cull the roe on the farm a couple of years back & if I can get him on the phone I will ask him the sort of cull numbers he was taking, & if that's still relevant considering global warming! or the increase in numbers reported in the press!
Provisionally I'll be looking for the bucks that are too old to keep their territory, the young bucks who're too weak to gain/hold territiory & the obvious merciful cull beasts. So it stands to reason if there's a dominant buck witha good control of his territory then that's the one to leave alone, meaning I can take all interlopers & concentraite more on a doe cull next season.


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If you hit the yearlings this summer you will be ok, they will be doing the fraying etc. The old bucks will sort of slide away into the cover but they are worth taking if you can. once autumn comes you will be able to have a good look around and see how many does you have. If you have LOTS of deer you will have a job on your hands.

i am no expert, but they seem to slowly increase in number but then all of a suddenly you have loads and loads. t maybe that all of a sudden they have taken the areas with decent cover and find marginal ground that is more conspicous.

Try to get a copy of "roe deer management and stalking" by richard prior. It is a bible.



First of all congratulations DL for passing your Level 1. It can be a bit nerve racking, although it was sometime back that I passed mine, I can still remember two of my friends on the course who had cleaned the barrel the night before, and did not realise that it makes a difference to the grouping.

Roe are easy to find in early April, this is one of the best times to look over the ground and see what you have in the way of stock on the ground. Young underweight bucks should be taken, poor heads and of course the walking wounded. Much also depends on the surrounding areas and who manages it and the feed available. With the doe's try and take out all the old and barren first, plus again walking wounded. Then its down to numbers. Swampy is right in that you sometimes find that the whole area is alive with deer some years. This has been the case on one area I have in Sussex. Its only 230 acres, but the first morning I counted 15 deer and took two bucks. The second outing two weeks later produced another old buck and 14 other deer spotted.

Good luck with your ground, enjoy the season.


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Thanks,there's lots of useful information on this site,deer control is an important thing to do well,so all the advice is good.
On the course I zeroed my rifle prior to the weekend & left it dirty for once, 'cos I new it was shooting well. However I had a bit of a tremble with the 100m check zero test! Midges everywhere too!
It didn't cross my mind that I'd see more than a couple of deer during any particular trip out!
I'm not sure what's best,dawn or dusk? I've seen a few in the past next to a pond, is it best to lie up some where to observe them? or to walk the ground as quietly as possible? :???:


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dusk or dawn

both are fine, but at the minute dawn is very early.

try walking and looking for sign and then next time put yourself downwind of where you saw the sign and just wait and see what happens. obstacle crossings have been good for me in the past, you will see where the deer jumps and lands. they will stop and look around before they jump, or if they don't stop get the cross hairs on them and shout "oi" then they will look for you but you will need to be quick.



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That's helpful swampy, I have noticed tracks on the paths in the muddy patches. So that's were I'll start. Will get the book you reccomended, in hard back as I expect it to become well thumbed! The books the cheap part of it,by the time I've got a couple of deer stalking rifles set up the way I want them my credit card will be allmost on its limit!!
Regards dawn - I'm not especially a morning person,so I think that'll take a bit of getting used to!
After I've gained a bit of expirience I'll get a DSC2 witness to have a look at my standards, I'm wondering how much it'll cost? Getting certificated seems like it could be another avenue for me to spend wads of cash!! My poor bank balance!


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where are you

Where are you in the country? you are welcome to come out with me for a look. I am just south of the Humber. PM me if you want to.


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Richard Prior's book

Roe Deer Management & Stalking It's really comprehensive, well worth having & will save a lot of hours trying to figure out the basics of the stalk.


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Which Buck to take

Hi DL,
I was taught " In the morning walk and in the evening sit" and I generally follow that. I have stalking on farmland in Oxfordshire.
This time of the year I tend to get to the ground for 04:30, walk in a circular tour to get back to the vehicle about 06:00 have a cup and a bite and then walk again (probably the same route)and back for 07:30. I tend to cover the same area for a few outings then try another area.
You have probably guessed now that one beast per three outings is about my average.
Evenings in May and June I don't find many bucks about until last light. But once the rut is on the does tend to move out into the wheat and barley. and you can find a buck with them at any time of day.
If in doubt as to whether to cull a particular buck then leave it until later. You may not see it again but at least it will have mated to carry on the line.
You would probably gain more by doing the Game Meat Handling course than Level 2.
Good stalking.