By Richard Prior
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Q) A stalking client phoned at the end of March to say that he had just seen a roe kid, no bigger than a newborn lamb, which had spots and was being quite active. It was so close he could almost have caught it. This was in Wiltshire. Isnt this extremely early? G. PROWSE By email
A) A new roe kid in the last week of March is quite possible, though very early as you will appreciate. The peak of fawning in the south of England is mid-May, though older females tend to produce up to a week earlier than does having their first young. The earliest date in my experience was 30 April and was a desperately sad sight, as a difficult presentation of the foetus had made for a prolonged labour, during which the mother had died without delivering her kid.
As this kid was apparently pretty agile, it sounds as though it was more than just newborn, which makes it all the more unusual. I have, however, reliable records of live roe kids as early as the first week of March and these, surprisingly, from Scotland. Warm weather may accelerate the growth of the foetus to produce an earlier date for delivery and this may vary according to a late winter and spring weather. However, no-one could say that this past winter was unusually mild. Such an early kid also brings into question the extension of the doe season to include March, an extension which, I believe, has been a grave error.
Don't miss this week's Shooting Times (on sale Wednesday 22nd May)! Get your FREE BOOKLET containing 24-pages of top gundog training tips! Plus, Tim Bonner goes wildfowling on the Blackwater estuary! Buy your copy today!
Subscribe today to Shooting Times magazine - The UK's leading weekly shooting title!
Shooting Times are giving away a fantastic Compact 150 automatic trap plus mini barrow from Bowman