WILD Jaeger Hunting Roe Deer Survey
By WILD Jaeger International Pro Staff, Roger Pettersson
Hunting Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is a big thing in Europe. The Roe deer is one of the most common deer species all over Europe (and Ursa minor). Some countries have more than others, mainly because of climate differences. One can say that Roe deer can be found as far up as 65 degrees latitude, above this the Roe deer finds the winters to hard and the snow makes it difficult to live. To the south, Roe deer populate down towards 40 degrees latitude.
Figure 1″Photo” A nice Roe deer Buck harvested in Germany 2014.
The name Roe deer is believed to originate from the Danish word “Röddjur” (Red animal)
The Roe deer have a remarkable way of populating even small areas and can in many cases become a real problem animal, especially if there is no predation or hunting. A Roe deer usually spawns three fawns, however she usually lose one of the three early on to predation or starvation. When climate permits for all three fawns to survive, the population can grow exponentially in just a few years’ time.
The density of Roe deer in a country or region can vary by a large margin. One of the most obvious effects of this is the general weight of the Roe deer drops and they grow smaller. This can be seen over just a few generations (years). It’s believed that this effect is basically due to food shortage and they grow smaller to survive in densely populated areas.
Where the Roe deer are not being hunted, for example in suburban communities they become very bold and unafraid of humans. They can cause a lot of problems in gardens, crops and also become a big traffic hazard. They are mainly nocturnal and during the day they tend to bed down in small patches even in a highly populated suburban area. The main predators for Roe deer are the Red fox, wolf and Lynx, but also Eagles have been known to take fawns early on in their lives.
Roe deer are picky when it comes to feeding. They eat a variety of herbs, so they aren’t grass feeders as many might think. They do eat grass, but it’s not their first choice. Grain, corn, potatoes and lettuce are some favorite foods of the roe deer that man produces. Apples and anything rich in sugar/starch is favored during the fall.
WJ asked WJ International pro staffer Jerrold Scharninghausen about his experience with Roe deer and hunting In Germany. At WILD Jaeger it’s about sharing global hunting experiences and opening up hunting opportunities, because WILD game differs in other countries; but the call of the WILD is still the same!
What is your background in Roe deer hunting?
I have been hunting Roe deer since 2000 when I received my German hunting License. Since then I have harvested between 2 and 9 deer every year. I currently hunt mostly in the Grafenwoehr area in a private revier. When the opportunity presents itself, I will also hunt in the Grafenwoehr training Area and the Hohenfels Training Area. I began hunting in a private revier in the Ramstein area.
Which methods do you prefer and/or practice when hunting for Roe deer (rifle, bow, stalking or sitting)?
In Germany only rifle hunting is authorized. The bulk of my hunting is sitting in established stands, with the occasional use of a climbing tree stand, portable blind or stalking.
What is the Roe deer population like in your country/area (good, bad, high, low and why)?
The population is good. Supplemental feeding in the winter helps the Roe deer population over winter in deep snow, and mineral supplements have steadily increased antler size over the past 5 years.
What is the hardest thing you have to overcome to harvest a Roe deer?
The hardest part is the other use of hunting areas. It is not uncommon to have joggers, bicycle riders, dog walkers or an occasional horseback riders pass through the area. When this happens, everything gets spooked.
What would your best recommendations be to someone who has never hunted the Roe deer before?
They are small. A Roe deer will hide in cover that you will not believe is sufficient to hide a rabbit, let alone a deer. While sitting, grassy areas must be scanned regularly to catch movement to determine if anything is actually there. In a wheat field, the only sign of their presence may be the slight motion of the wheat counter to the wind direction. If you are alert, the probability of stalking within shooting range increases dramatically.
“The Roe Deer is what WILD Jaeger calls, the White tail of Europe. Available to every hunter in Europe, the Roe Deer is native to all countries on the continent. Just like the whitetail is native to, and available to hunt in most states in North America.
Deer up to 300 grams (an average mature Roe buck) can be hunted everywhere. While deer with 400-500 gram trophy sizes must be sought out in special hunting grounds and the hunter will normally pay a fee for such a hunt.” – Ricky Mills (WILD Jaeger CEO) 13 April 2015