Hunting Rhoe Deer

My favorite hide gun, a K95 Stutzen, short & light, Peregrine bushmaster - combination shoots like "hell"

My favorite hide gun, a K95 Stutzen, short & light, Peregrine bushmaster – combination shoots like “hell”

The hunting of Rhoe Deer is mostly carried out from a hide in the early morning or in the evening. I remember sitting in a hide with my daughter Demi and she commented, “this is not hunting”. We quickly get trapped into thinking and expecting experiences to be and mirror that which we are familiar with. The proper English terminology for this behavior is paradigm; I refer to it as tunnel vision. This is true across all aspects of life and the reason I encourage people to travel and experience different cultures and different ways of doing things.

My daughter bored, silence in the Hide (or apartments as termed locally)

My daughter bored, silence in the Hide (or apartments as termed locally)

I would like to “stay of” the blog subject for a brief moment on “paradigms”, hoping that my life experiences can influence lives positively. I worked “more or less” in the same work environment for 23 years, and although I was fortunate to have many different roles and responsibilities globally I did not change my environment dramatically enough in order to reinvent myself. Forget about the days of being in the same company your whole life, change every 5 years, it is important to your growth! My relocation and living in Slovenia was the biggest contributor to the changing of my paradigms.

Hunting from a hide was established in Europe centuries back for good reasons. Europe does not have vast open plains, and in Slovenia for example people are free to walk anywhere (obviously not through a farmers crop) hence hunters must be acutely aware of the environment in which they are hunting. A hide gives you height from which to shoot ensuring the bullet is quickly embedded in the ground. Hunting deer alone in the forests is not only a near impossible task but a risk to human lives because almost everyone enjoys walking in nature. The only time hunting is carried out in the forest is during the hunting family “shoot days”. There is communication to the public about the hunting area and the area is sign posted at entry points to inform of the danger.

Roe Deer are relatively small in size with a shoulder height of about 65 cm and a weighing around 25kg. Males have shortish erect antlers and a reddish body with a grey face. Mature roebucks get their set of antlers in December which fully develop by April; they lose them again around late September. Older females can by exception grow a set of smaller antlers. The Rhoe Deer is territorial making it easier to hunt a selected animal as they normally appear in the same area; maybe not every morning or evening but a few times in the week. The main competition is your fellow hunter because whoever gets to the hide first has the right to shoot in that location.

Mature Rhoe Deer, a sign to look for is the clearance of the horns above the ears

Mature Rhoe Deer, a sign to look for is the clearance of the horns above the ears

Rhoe Deer become accustomed to their environment; you will often see deer near the edge of the forest close to a highway. They become totally accustomed to travelling vehicles. When driving through a hunting area and you see a deer then you need to drive past because immediately that the vehicle stops they disappear into the forest (much like shooting crows). I hope to get a quality photo of a deer that I have seen at the shooting range in the city center of Ljubljana. The deer continues eating in the close proximity of the target (100 m range) despite shooting!

Roebuck hunting is not physically demanding because it is mostly carried out from a hide. The weather can influence your hunt; but rain is good since deer tend to come out of the forests before and after the rain. The hunting season for mature males, young males and females is May to end October. Mature females and young deer may be hunted through to the end of December. I do not want to repeat what I wrote in my blog about hunting systems in Slovenia but it is worthwhile to note that there is a Government quota (compulsory) of take-off in every category of deer. The hunting family that I belong to have chosen to limit the quota to 2 per week in order to avoid the full quota from being used up early in the season. Kills from all causes count to the quota such as deer hit by cars.

Kriška Gora mountain range, the hunting area of my family - Udenbošt

Kriška Gora mountain range, the hunting area of my family – Udenbošt

Although I am part of a hunting family there is a lot that I still do not understand. In 2015 I shot a mature Rhoe deer at the end of the season, which coincidentally was the last mature male on the annual quota. Then I was told that I had to shoot a female deer in the same year in order to qualify for another male deer the following year. This hunting family rule came about because hunters did not generally shoot enough female deer in order to meet their annual quota, hence a type of forcing strategy to shoot female deer. Later in 2015 I used the opportunity of farmers reporting of damage to shoot a female deer. I did, but still when the 2016 allocation was made I was not allocated a Rhoe deer to shoot in 2016, so I don’t follow altogether:)

My first Rhoe Deer in Slovenia with my mentor Dusan. The hat & last bite placed in the mouth of the deer is tradition

My first Rhoe Deer in Slovenia with my mentor Dusan. The hat & last bite placed in the mouth of the deer is tradition