Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

The Silent Standoff — An Unexpected Thrill of a Roe Deer Encounter

I lack the patience for birding or hiding for hours in wait of a fleeting glimpse of wildlife. However, stumbling upon the sight of a bird or creature feels like a rare privilege.

Such was the case this morning when I spotted a yearling roe buck. Or rather, he spotted me. We engaged in a silent standoff until he casually sauntered off before I could even reach for my camera. Yet, he graciously paused, allowing me to capture this photograph.

Judging by the budding antlers, I believe it to be a buck, likely a yearling from last year’s brood, driven away before the does birth new offspring.

Once confined mainly to Scotland by the eighteenth century, roe deer, native to Britain but absent in Ireland, have seen a resurgence due to introductions and reforestation efforts. Their range is rapidly expanding and in some places are considered a pest.

Unlike other deer, roe deer are solitary and territorial. Adult does maintain their own territories for several years, fiercely defending them against intruders, especially during warmer months. Buck territories tend to be larger, often overlapping with multiple does. However, post-rut, bucks become more tolerant of one another, particularly during harsh weather when all deer congregate for better feeding opportunities, a phenomenon known as ‘bevies’ of roe deer.

Unique among British deer, roe bucks grow their antlers in winter, unlike their counterparts who do so in summer. The rut occurs early, in late July or early August, yet offspring, typically twins, are not born until the following May or June due to delayed implantation. In October, some roe exhibit a false rut, displaying sexual and territorial behaviours which significance remains not entirely clear.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *