Game master Matthias Meyer gives you tips on how to approach roe bucks properly. This makes it easier to determine the age of our most common cloven-hoofed game species.
Roe deer is the most common cloven-hoofed game species in Germany. And although it is present in almost all hunting grounds and we hunters encounter it regularly, opinions differ widely on the possibilities and necessity of age identification. On the basis of which criteria at least roe bucks can be addressed well, the following tips show.
The Shape of the head changes until the third year. Then the physical growth is completed, the lower jaw fully extended. While young bucks have a rather narrow head, with increasing age it becomes broader, more angular and thus appears shorter.
Quiz: Correctly address roebucks
2. Facial expression
Also the Facial expression can help to insight. From a childlike, youthful and curious facial expression it changes to a serious, masculine to a suspicious and sullen one.
The Face coloring or mask can give hints. However, the frequency of exceptions is so great that one can hardly speak of a rule anymore. Relatively reliable is the consistently dark facial coloring in the yearling. The clearly demarcated white moufflon usually appears only from the second year, but it can also show the physically very strong yearling.
In middle-aged bucks, the face often appears colorful, usually having the muffle patch extending over the bridge of the nose, but also dark areas in the mask. Not infrequently, the light muffle spot extends so far upwards that the face already appears "age-grey". So do not be deceived! Really old bucks usually have a lot of gray hair on the head.
It not only frames the lights ("glasses"), but extends far down, giving the face a pale, washed-out, dull hue. A contrasting, sharply drawn facial mask speaks more for a middle-aged buck, a gray washed out one more for the old one.
Correctly ageing bucks sometimes proves difficult.
A far more meaningful indication of age provides us with the Figure, the physical frame. When several pieces are seen at the same time, the comparison is easier. The young roebuck appears slender, high running with straight back and belly line. Hind legs, back, belly and forelegs form almost a square.
The laterally tapering head is carried almost on vertical, thin and long-looking beam. With increasing age, the figure of the buck becomes more rectangular, stockier and appears more powerful due to stronger muscle parts on the beam, blade and haunches.
The muscular beam appears shorter because it is much broader at the suggestion. An old mature buck will show a distinctly setback withers, plummeting back, weight shifted forward and a drooping belly line.
5. Hair change and disposing
The Time for sweeping and changing hair performs at different times depending on age and individual condition and is accordingly moderately suitable for ageing. In our latitudes the 1. April due to years of observation for me a sound limit.
Those still wearing velvet now are yearling, biennial, clearly over-aged or sick. Many well-developed yearlings are usually completely red before they sweep. Hearing build-up and hair change cost a lot of energy. Constitutionally good individuals, no matter what age, have more energy for these metabolic processes and are consequently earlier in the process.
How old might this roebuck be?
In the different age classes roebucks show a quite conspicuous Behavior. Young bucks are carefree, playful, often diurnal and curious. They still seek the proximity of mother and siblings and emerge in full light. Strong yearlings and two year olds also show escape behavior when older bucks are present. In unclear situations they easily shy away.
This changes with age: they often leave their roost after dark and move back in at first light in the morning. They do not secure in their territory too often, because no one will dispute it with them anymore. When they move onto grazing, they linger under the eaves for a long time before then quickly trying to reach the center of the grazing area to persistently secure there as well.
At the slightest suspicion, they usually jump off without flinching or hoping. Even in the foliage time their outwitting usually succeeds only in direct proximity of its Einstand. Overaged bucks on the other hand lose this tension again. They usually move in a very small territory and appear at all possible and impossible times, as they take longer to graze due to poor teeth.
The Horn of a buck is relatively poorly suited for age detection. The year-old average spearhead usually has no real roses, but max. Thickening or single beads at the base. It is quite different with strongly developed yearlings. They can carry cuddly forks or six horns with well developed roses. They are often not recognized as younglings and are shot as unknown capital bucks!
If you look closely beforehand, you can see the narrow, parallel high rosebushes and a clear disproportion between horns and habitus. When in doubt, keep an unknown strong buck alive, as it is usually a capital yearling or incoming two year old. In old, mature bucks, the roses sit close and usually slipped sideways on the skull with plenty of space between the roosts.
Roof roses, on the other hand, are not a significant response characteristic for an old buck – even good yearlings can have roof roses! Rosebush diameter increases with age. At the same time, the mass of horns usually shifts from top to bottom with age, and existing ends become shorter or disappear altogether.