Some tips to best practise one of the most thrilling hunt activities: roe deer stalking.
Roe deer stalking is a hunt that’s different every time.
Climatic and atmospheric conditions, the character of the animals, their habits in their habitat make a hunting day different every time.
It’s exactly this that draws in even the most experienced hunter during roe deer stalking.
It’s like an endless puzzle, a world where, happily, the learning never stops. As if nature wanted to remind us that we are merely human in its presence.
Only the humble, diligent and aware hunters are able to obtain the best results, enjoy this thrilling hunt and always carry indelible memories with them.
So, on roe deer stalking the perennial, base advice is: stay humble.
For the hunter on their first roe hunt outings, this might seem confusing. So, where to start?
There are some tricks that, if applied consistently, can speed up the learning of roe deer stalking techniques.
The advised clothing, a correct attention to wind direction, the right caliber firearm do not make the perfect hunter, but they help increase the chances of success.
Here are our 7 tips for approaching roe deer stalking.
1. The correct clothing
Cervids do not see in color, but rather in shades of gray, so light, uniform colors are more easily identifiable when contrast against a forest or meadow background.
So, employing colors with various shades is advisable. So too, is remembering that stalking is a noble art… and a certain elegance is a must.
Yet more important is being prepared for the climatic conditions, readiness for any eventuality. If it’s hot, layering clothing, to make removal easier, is recommended. If cold, it is important not to forget your loden cloak.
This is an incredibly useful addition to your kit and which, when folded, turns into an excellent support on rocks or tree branches.
The mountain hunter must remember gloves, a neck warmer and the obligatory hat.
In the mountains, the weather changes suddenly: a waterproof poncho in your rucksack, as well as adding very little weight, can be very useful, especially if you stop at the stakeout for a while.
Now let’s move on to the most important aspect: footwear. If going out at dawn, when the meadows are wet with dew, opt for nothing other than good quality rubber hunting boots, essential for roe deer stalking.
A good boot shouldn’t make any noise, so testing them carefully before purchase is important. They should be utterly noiseless!
If you are hunting in the evening or up in the mountains, boots make the best choice: they have a good grip, to ensure that you do not sprain an ankle or trip over uneven ground. Boots are noisier on gravel, so pay attention to the sole.
Only choosing footwear made of top-quality materials is critical because there is nothing worse than wet or frozen feet over the course of a long hunting day.
The noiselessness of all the other clothing is essential. Soft fleeces, loden or suede garments are a must on this hunt, while fabrics that make noise with every rubbing, such as nylon, are absolutely to be avoided: game will hear them from hundreds of meters away.
2. Roe deer stalking: the hunter’s rucksack
A rucksack with everything you need is the roe deer stalking hunter’s real companion.
Two sets of binoculars are recommended: one with large magnification for hunting in the open field and a small one for stalking in the thick of the woods.
Shooting stick or “alpenstock”: essential for providing balance on steep terrain.
Whether it is a latest generation, hi-tech stick or fashioned from a branch found in the woods, does not matter, the expert roe deer hunter will never do without one.
When the roe deer enters the sight, heart rate increases and the breathing becomes, inevitably and unconsciously, labored. In this situation, the watchword: prudence.
In fact, taking a few more moments to evaluate distance and wind and “feel” the shot is important to ensure making a thoughtful, accurate shot, avoiding wounding which is the true enemy of the selection hunter.
Rope: the novice roe deer hunter often doesn’t consider getting the game down the hill once taken. This is where decent rope comes in.
If it’s your lucky day then with the first animal caught early in the morning, the rope comes in useful for hanging the quarry from a tree while attempting a second hunting foray.
Knife: There are two types of knife to have if you want to round off a day’s roe deer hunting well.
The first knife must be able to alleviate any unnecessary suffering for the animal, in the unfortunate event of injury.
The second, which must be well sharpened, will be employed for cleaning the animal on the spot, so as to immediately drain the blood from the tissues, avoiding the possible development of bacteria and treat the meat properly, giving it its due respect.
Furthermore, cleaning the game in place has two advantages: the roe deer becomes lighter to carry and the entrails provide a precious food source for the other forest creatures.
Water: the best roe deer hunt is perhaps the “Brunf” or “Fippio” or “whistle”, i.e. when the roe deer is in the midst of the mating season and is attracted by the call.
Being in late July and early August, when the heat is relentless everywhere, keeping well hydrated to maintain high energy and concentration levels is essential.
Plenty of food: Maintaining high energy levels is essential when walking a lot. Often you are hunting with a companion and a convivial snack every so often, to catch your breath and have a chat, is one of the nicest elements of any kind of hunting, not merely roe deer stalking.
3. Gain confidence with your rifle
It might seem obvious, but as a stalking beginner it is easy to forget to practice before the actual hunt event. Having confidence in firearm handling is essential if you want to achieve the skill necessary to seize the moment when the game allows.
In the most authentic roe deer stalking, especially in the woods, the roe deer leaves you only a few seconds to decide; at that moment, hunter and firearm need to be one and the same.
Being ready for what you will come up against is critical for better facing the hunting season.
By practicing shooting over short, medium and long distances, you gain the confidence and the ability to handle any shot required over the course of the hunting season.
You may begin by shooting at 50 and 100 meters, before increasing to 200 meters. If you are in dense forest, short shots may also be required.
It’s useless repeating until blue in the face that firearms must always be calibrated.
After the event and from one day’s hunting to another, a simple bump can shift the calibration even slightly, but at 200 meters a millimeter can make the difference between a precise shot and missing the game or worse, wounding it.
One of the most common choices for those who stalk are bolt action rifles with a revolving bolt.
The Horizon family of hunting rifles offers a wide range of configurations, which adapt to the needs of the hunter both in terms of functionality and aesthetics.
The bolt action Horizon is offered in the main calibers depending on model: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum.
All versions are equipped with a detachable magazine, a fluted bolt with three locking lugs and an adjustable trigger from 0.8 Kg to 1.9 Kg.
Delivered with a certificate of accuracy of 1 M.O.A. out of three shots fired, they enjoy a 7-year-warranty on the mechanical parts.
Among the new releases we find Horizon Wood, an ergonomic rifle with modern lines but that, thanks to its wooden stock, maintains a link with tradition.
4. Becoming invisible
While roe deer do not have exceptional eyesight, like deer, they do enjoy exceptional hearing and smell. A little noise or a distraction in wind management and its hunt over.
So, never scent yourself: this is the key to staying indistinguishable. It is important to ensure clothes are washed using a fragrance-free detergent and use an unscented deodorant throughout the day.
If proceeding to the approach, the hunter must try to remain as low as possible and not run: footsteps hitting the ground are thunderous to roe deer.
5. Roe deer stalking: working with the wind
Knowing which way the wind is blowing is essential for a hunter. The smell of human will travel far and if a roe deer catches a whiff, it won’t give a second chance.
That is precisely why you need to know how to use the wind to your advantage and to position yourself tactically.
For determining which way the wind is blowing: a lighter flame, a puff of talcum powder or, in a pinch, a moist finger in the wind. These can determine whether or not your roe deer stalking will be a success.
Once the wind direction is established, position yourself downwind so that the roe deer do not pick up on the smell.
Obviously, roe deer do not always behave as expected but you will still have to best prepare yourself to complete your stalking.
6. Roe deer stalking: go cat-like, and at the right time
To successfully accomplish roe deer stalking, or “piersh” as it is known in German, hunters must be focused, alert, light on their feet and generally noiseless.
Always thinking before moving, visualizing the path and anticipating obstacles. Going on to proceed in small light steps, shifting weight as much as possible on tiptoe, so as to make as little noise as possible.
In addition to being careful where we walk, it is vital to always be aware of our surroundings. Keep eyes and senses peeled and head up to look around, looking out for disruptions in the landscape.
You are able to move only when the roe deer are calm and not on the alert.
Do not rush, especially in the open field. The right moment is when their heads are down on the ground, because they are grazing. If a roe deer looks up, remain in place perfectly still.
7. Roe deer stalking: first and foremost, being an “ethical” hunter
It is not the game bag that interests the true hunter. Every hunter has a responsibility to shoot consciously and ethically. Part of the hunter’s role is to preserve nature for future generations.
If humans, with our presence, have altered the ecosystem, then our intervention can and must be aimed at rebalancing it.
For this reason, we must remember to aim first at the unpromising young and the elderly whose antlers are in decline. Taking a young male with a fine trophy, in the prime of his reproductive glory, is a shame.
If you spot a healthy head, giving up a more “prestigious” trophy in favor of taking specimens with malformations or significant disfigurements is the proper thing to do.
Another duty of the ethical hunter is to obtain a “clean” specimen without wounding.
In order to achieve this, never risk shots that are unlikely, without the correct support or in conditions of insufficient visibility. They only turn out as bitter memories.
A few precious tips which, if committed to memory, will not only allow you to make a qualitative leap as a hunter, but that will increase the associated thrills and memories in what is one of the most exciting hunting practices – roe deer stalking.