Country Corner

A young roe buck
A young roe buck

This young roe buck is a regular at one of my camera traps.

Roe deer shed their antlers in autumn and grow a new set over winter. The growing antlers are covered in short dense hair known as velvet.

This youngster, born in the late spring, is now growing his very first crown.

When he frays the velvet to reveal his new antlers next spring they will probably be single spikes, making him a “spiker” or “two pointer”.

This all depends upon habitat, and how well it provides food, minerals and security.

In the best roe habitat it is not unknown for such first crowns to be six pointers, three on each side. Normally roe deer only ever attain six-point crowns.

Though, of course, the six point crowns of such precocious young bucks are very light and small compared to those of mature six-point bucks. More likely a good first crown would be four points, i.e. two on each side.

Now that roe are on walkabout, away from from their small and fiercely-defended breeding territories of summer, they will be mixing with other roe.

Sometimes these meetings are quite lively affairs, as was the case when this young buck met a young doe on the wee patch of woodland watched over by this particular camera.

For at least a couple of minutes, as timed by the camera, the duo enjoyed a hectic game of pushing and shoving, shoulder to shoulder, round and round in tight circles.

What an honour to witness such a secret moment in the lives of two young deer.

I always set my cameras to take stills, as that is what I have most use for.

However, on this occasion I was left wishing I had set the controls to video.

Now that would have been an entertaining two minutes!