OWEN REFLECTS ON A PERIOD OF UNCERTAINTY DURING THE ROEBUCK RUT
JUNE 17TH 2019
Of all the hunting experiences I have, summer roebucks during the rut time are up there with some of the best. It can be the most exciting time in the woods, but also the most frustrating and disappointing, and it can never really be relied on. But when it comes good and you experience a mature buck exploding out of cover within a few yards, it is something that you never forget and want to experience again and again.
I write of my own experiences over the past 20 years of trying to master calling roebucks. My only advice to anyone considering it is to get out into the woods and ‘have a play’ – but do it with a low level of expectation. Anything that happens will be a bonus.
There are plenty of roe calls available, and all of them, at certain times, will call bucks. However, I must admit that I am down to a few favourites despite a collection of more than 20. My most used calls are the black plastic Hubertus Rehfiep with a thumbnail pitch adjuster, the popular Cherry wood call – which I combine with an adapted buttolo – and a French turned wooden one, depending on the circumstances and success rate of the other three.
The roe rut generally happens around the end of July or start of August, and is the time of year when the doe comes ‘on heat’. This is when she is sexually receptive to the buck and actively leaves her young and seeks out her mate. At this time, calling the deer can be quite successful if you make a noise like a doe looking for a buck, or make a noise like distressed roe kid to call the doe back and hopefully bring the buck with her, or at least a doe being treaded by a buck.
If you are out in the woods regularly in mid to late July, you may have witnessed an increase in activity of your roe population, especially during daytime when you might not normally be seeing any. This could be an indication that the rut is beginning to ‘kick-off’ and this is when I may begin to tentatively start calling to see what’s about.
A rule of thumb is to not start too early in the day. My best results for calling have been from after 7am through to mid- to late morning, then early to mid-afternoon. Not always, but generally.
It needs to be warm and humid for best results. A cold wind or drop in temperature can kill your chances in an instant. Pick an area where you know you have a buck territory and a place where you can call them out that allows visibility, so you can see or shoot safely depending on your intention.