Countrymans Diary

Roed up roe.

 

August is upon us, for some the Roe rut should be well under way. For us here in the Hebrides, Roe are a luxury if you have them on your ground. Twenty years ago, seeing a Roe would have been a very rare sighting indeed, and when someone saw one,,, they had no idea of what they were looking at. Roe, like most deer were seen as a pest by crofters and some still seeing them as a sign of oppression harking back to the time of the clearances…

 But here at Fearan Eilean Iarmain Estate we have allowed these deer to grow and improve. We now have good numbers and can start to manage them properly. Last season I needed to remove a few Roe that had gotten into one of our planted enclosures. These enclosures, as I have said before, are of a large size, some up to a thousand acres, so trying to find roe deer in them is a challenge. As I started to stalk the area I noticed the tell-tale signs of Roe rutting activity. As I rounded the corner of a wee hilloch I spotted a Roe doe grazing just outside the woodland edge. I spied about with the binos and spotted the buck lying down in the heather 20 yards behind the doe. I could not get a clear shot at the buck so I decided to give him a call on the Buttolla roe call. Every now and then I would give a slight squeak, the doe would react by squeaking back and coming closer towards me. This went on for 10 minutes with the buck eventually moving into the woodland.

I thought to myself, well I have a play about with the doe and see how close I can get her. As I would squeak she would call back and move closure. After a further 10 minutes she was underneath me at the base of the hilloch and moving to my left, I decided to let her go and see if the buck would reappear. I waited again for what seemed an eternity. With midges biting every exposed bit of my body, I wanted this buck to make an appearance or I was heading home to get some relief from my winged menace. So I gave it one last ditch attempt to call the buck. I started to sqeak, after the third call I could hear crashing in the bracken beneath me,,, here he comes I thought….. Then without warning a angry Roe doe burst out of the bracken no further than a meter from me and proceeded to stamp the crap out of me,,,, I fell back into a hole that the tree planters had left, I was on my arse with one leg in the hole and a raging doe stomping me and trying to flip me over!!!

 

 

 

 

 

To be honest, it was not that bad, she was a small doe, it was like my Labrador playing rough with me. So as I composed myself I gave her a smack on the snout and she was off like a fur rocket. As I got to my feet and wondered what the hell had just happened the buck appeared on the other side of the ravine. Not one to miss an opportunity, I raised the rifle and checked him out, he was a good beast but he was in the enclosure so he had to go. I squeezed off a round, and the buck fell from where he had appeared.

When I finally traversed the ravine I was met with a fantastic buck, a real nice beast with an even head. We just don’t get them this good here, they don’t live, they survive in the Hebrides. I was keen to get the head looked at. It measured bronze and I was told it was the one of the best they had seen from the West Coast Highlands. Let’s see what about this season…

 

 

 

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