Woodland roe, stealth & patience

We’re on home ground in South Ayrshire, and I have turned my attention to the roe doe cull in a nice mixed plantation block of broadleaf woodland and conifers.

It’s good stalking with quite a bit of open ground and requires field craft. You are often stalking in close cover and so it’s very much a case of ‘move a little, look a lot’. The benefit of a good deer dog can be seen, Zosia is an essential part of the team and as soon as she starts to pull forward and her nose is twitching then I know we are getting close. Learn to trust your dog!

We started out early as this is an area where we have had a few hikers and so I like to get out before the light comes up which reduces the likelihood of disturbance.

The dog indicated after a few hundred yards into the stalk and I could see deer above us in the half light, thanks to some good binoculars. I worked a movement in a loop to come back into the wind and over the top of the glen. As is often the case, by the time I had got to a vantage point overlooking where the deer should have been, it had moved on, I imagine into the trees, so I continued into the mature beech wood.

As soon as her nose is twitching, I know we are getting close. Learn to trust your dog !

C. Dalton

After maybe 30 minutes Zosia indicated strongly again and I soon glassed a couple of roe feeding the other side of a beech and willow thicket. It was a matter of stalking slowly forward and waiting for the youngest roe to come into a position where I had a clear shot through the trees. All worked perfectly and after a brief wait we had a young roe doe hanging from a convenient branch for a suspended gralloch .