GET A CLOSER LOOK AND MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION
ROEBUCK STALKING - DISTANCE CHALLENGE IN DENMARK
Practicing and finetuning the skill of stalking will make you a better hunter.
Imagine stalking up to 30-40 meters of a roebuck or even closer before taking the shot. While this is challenging with any game, the experience is unforgettable, and the connection to the animal and the surroundings are further strengthened.
We have challenged a hunter to get closer to the roebuck before pulling the trigger. The experience is documented on video and engages the viewer in a thrilling hunt with a goal of closing the distance to 40 meters from the roebuck.
In the film we are following the hunter and chef, Jakob Mielcke, stalking roebucks using an Aimpoint sight. We are hunting on a Danish estate just 1 hour outside of Copenhagen. The estate has a very healthy population of roe deer and also a very big population of fallow deer. The area is a combination of a big forest, some beautiful fields and meadows, providing the ideal habitat for the roe deer to live in.
During the hunt we saw over 60+ roebucks filming for 3 days from 4:30 in the morning to 21:30 in the evening stalking NON-STOP without any breaks other than a sandwich in the forest. Experienced hunters know the reward is much greater when limits are pushed and the hunt is not a rushed experience.
Stalking a roebuck to 60-100 meters is not a problem even if you are a team of 3 guys with two cameras but getting from 60 to 20 or 30 meters is a whole new level. For this to happen everything needs to be perfect; the wind, the ground you are walking on, the area the buck is standing in - all these things are considered before you can close the distance. Upon success, the thrill of the hunt is unmatched.
By choosing the optimal equipment, you can overcome some of the challenge. An Aimpoint sight for hunting will allow you to get closer to the animal and provides extremely quick target acquisition when it is time to pull off the shot. This creates an experience more similar to traditional style hunting. Shooting with both eyes open allows for a much better overview of the whole situation and the red dot reticle is fast and easy to use for accurate shot placement.
Additionally, by getting a closer look, you are not only improving your hunting skills, you are also able to responsibly and confidently judge the age and condition of the roebuck. Being a smaller game animal it can be essential to close the distance to make the correct call – even while using binoculars.
A PERFECT SET-UP FOR ROEBUCK STALKING
The list of high-tech equipment available for roebuck stalking is long. Here is our preferred gear list for this active type of hunting.
Any straight-shooting rifle will do, but if you are looking to buy your first rifle and stalking is going to be your primary type of hunting, then a lightweight rifle is the way to go. In Europe the most popular calibers for roe deer are: 243, 6,5X55, 308., 270 and 30.06.
The trend in most European countries is banning the lead bullet, so we recommend a lead-free bullet. Many ammunition manufacturers offer lead free products. For example, Norma Ecostrike, RWS Evolution green, or Hornady GMX. These are all good options. A bullet weight of 165 grains (9,7 grams) is ideal for roe deer.
An Aimpoint® Red Dot Sight
If you already have an Aimpoint sight you are ready to go. If you don’t, you can choose the sight model most suitable for your gun. It is usually a question of mounting and what model looks best on your rifle. With many mounting options available from Aimpoint or other manufacturers, you are sure to find a solution that works for you.
Aimpoint sight options include compact, low profile models like the Acro C-1TM, Micro H-2TM, or the tubular models like the HunterTM Series. Any of these provide a fast and accurate sighting solution for your hunting rifle.
For stalking you need a shooting stick. This will make taking a safe shot much easier. In this case where the goal of the hunt is to close the distance before shooting, you could use a simple one leg stick.
If you want a more stable alternative there are many good shooting sticks on the market, 2 legged, 3 legged, and 4 legged where you have two resting points for the rifle.
One of the most important tools for any kind of hunting is a good pair of binoculars. This will help you to make the right choice when selecting the animals to harvest.
The most common binocular sizes for stalking would be 8X42 or 10X42. The first 8x42 is a bit lighter and easier to carry around and the 10x42 binocular gives you a better image of the animals as it has more light transmission. They will both do the job, so it is more a matter of preference.
When stalking a nice pair of comfortable boots is essential. Don’t buy your hunting boots the day before the hunt. You need time to break them in.
As roebuck hunting will take place in the summer in most countries, it is important that you have some boots that will work well during warm weather. They should be lightweight as you will be walking a lot and should be waterproof so you can use them in any kind of conditions. Even if the weather in your area is dry most of the time, in the early mornings and late evenings the grass gets very wet because of the dew.
When it comes to hunting clothing, every hunter has his/her favorite item that works best for the occasion. Basically, wear the clothes you feel most comfortable in.
It depends a lot on how long you will be hunting. If you start in the early morning when it still is a little bit cold and hunt all through the day until the sun goes down, you need a bit of warmer clothing for the morning and evenings. Use the principle of layers then you will be able to adjust the insulation level you are wearing throughout the day.
ROEBUCK HUNTING IN EUROPE
HUNTING SEASON VARIES AMONG THE COUNTRIES
All over Europe the different countries have a different approach to the hunting season of the male roe deer, the roebuck. The earliest season starts in the UK where you can hunt the roebuck from the 1st of April.
Why do some countries hunt roebucks in the spring and why do some first hunt them after the rut in the late part of summer? The different hunting seasons in the different countries is because each country has a different way of looking at the way we manage the deer population and of course of the density of the population in the different countries.
In Denmark, Germany, Poland, and many other central European countries the hunting season for roebucks starts in the spring. This is because the philosophy is that they want to eliminate the bucks with weak genes before the rutting season.
By targeting the weak bucks, the bad genes in the roe deer population decrease and allow the bigger, stronger bucks to reproduce the good genes. Over time by doing this, we ensure a strong and healthy roe deer population. With this strategy, the hunters basically are adding to the natural selection of the animals. By taking away the weak animals the hunters create space for the stronger animals and secure the optimal conditions, in terms of food source and keeping the population of roe deer at the ideal number according to the available habitat.
In countries like Sweden and Norway where the roebuck season starts in August, the process is a bit different. Here the hunting season is based on the philosophy that the roebucks should be allowed to pass on their genes before they are hunted. The theory of taking out the weak bucks in the spring works very well if the hunters adhere to the regulations and do not shoot the big beautiful bucks prematurely.
ROEBUCK HUNTING SEASON
SEASON DATES FOR SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
|COUNTRY||START DATE - END DATE|
|Austria||1 June – 15 October|
|Bulgaria||1 May – 30 October|
|Croatia||1 May – 30 September|
|Czech Republic||16 May – 30 September|
|Estonia||1 June – 31 December|
|Finland||15 May – 15 June|
|France||1 June – 1 September|
|Germany||1 May – 31 January|
|Italy||1 June – 30 September|
|Latvia||15 May – 15 October|
|Norway||10 August – 23 December|
|Poland||11 May – 30 September|
|Serbia||15 April – 30 September|
|Slovakia||16 May – 30 September|
|Slovenia||5 May – 31 October|
|Spain||1 April – 30 September|
|Sweden||16 August – 31 January|
|United Kingdom||1 April – 31 October|
Dates can vary depending on region and land owner.
Always check local regulations before hunting.
A QUICK AND GRACEFUL DEER
There are two species of roe deer: the European roe deer and the larger Siberian roe deer. They are well adapted to cold environments, and they range from northern Europe and Asia into the high mountains of Central Asia. The population is increasing in Europe due to a decrease in predator game numbers.
The roe deer’s coat is reddish brown in the summer and grayish brown with a white rump patch in the winter. The deer are almost tailless, and the male has short antlers.
The European roe deer is a relatively small deer, with a body length of 95–135 cm, a shoulder height of 65–75 cm, and a weight of 15–35 kg. Bucks in good conditions develop antlers up to 20–25 cm long with two - three, sometimes even four, points.
The roebuck continues to grow stronger in body and antlers until 5-8 years of age, depending on the area it lives in, the density of the population, and the amount and nutrition level of the food.
In areas with a high amount of calcium and other minerals the bucks get very strong and have energy to grow a larger set of antlers than in areas where the amount of minerals is low.
Behavior and Lifecycle
They are very quick and graceful, and typically live in woods, although they may move into fields and sparse forests. They feed mainly on grass, leaves, berries, and young shoots.
When alarmed, they bark a sound much like a dog and flash out the white rump patch. Females make a high-pitched "pheep" whine to attract males during the breeding season. The roe deer attains a maximum lifespan (in the wild) of 10 years.
Roe deer have a very unusual reproduction biology. They do not, as other northern deer, use the summer’s vegetation to store fat. Instead the roebuck breeds in late July or early August. This would normally mean that about 150 days later the fawns would be born, in the midst of winter, instead of late May when spring vegetation begins to grow.
This is solved with delayed implantation. The egg starts developing in January, and the fawn is born in late May to early June, after a 10-month gestation period. Typically, two spotted fawns of opposite sexes are born.
In order to breed in late summer, roe bucks become territorial in March. When the male's antlers begin to regrow, they are covered in a thin layer of velvet-like fur which disappears later on after the hair's blood supply is lost. Males may speed up the process by rubbing their antlers on trees. Roe bucks, unlike other deer, grow antlers in the winter and not in the summer.