Due to its large number, roe deer is the most popular game animal of the Cervidae family in Eurasia. The meat of a roe deer is edible and high in calories; its skin is suitable for suede production; its horns are a valuable hunting trophy.
Adult Roe deer grow to 60 – 75cm at the shoulder and weigh 10 – 25kg. Bucks (males) are slightly larger than does (females).
They are small and elegant with a summer coat of reddish brown turning to grey, pale brown or (occasionally) black in winter. They have a black nose, white chin and white rump patch with a short tush in females. Roe deer exhibit a bounding gait when alarmed. Antlers are rugose (rough or ridged surface), short (less than 30cm) and have three tines (points) on each.
The rut, or breeding season, occurs between mid-July to mid-August. Bucks become aggressive and maintain exclusive territories around one or more does prior to the rut. Fights between bucks can result in serious injury or death with the winner taking over the loser’s territory or attendant doe. Courtship involves chasing between the buck and doe for some time until the doe is ready to mate.
Although mating occurs in this period the fertilised egg does not implant and grow until January. This is thought to be an adaptation to avoid giving birth during harsh northern winters. The gestation period is nine months (four months of no embryonic growth followed by five months of foetal growth) with kids (usually two or three) being born May – June. Heavy mortality may occur shortly after birth and during the first winter.
Roe do not maintain exclusive territories but live within overlapping home ranges. Males mate with several females and females mating with several males has also been observed.
Roe deer are solitary, forming small groups in winter. They are active throughout the 24-hour period but make more use of open spaces during the hours of darkness in populations experiencing frequent disturbance. Peak times of activity are at dawn and dusk. Long periods are spent ‘lying up’ where the deer lies down to ruminate between feeding bouts.
When alarmed bucks and does give a short bark, which is often repeated. During the rut does make a high-pitched piping call to attract a buck who makes a rasping noise as he courts the doe.
Roe deer inhabit mixed and deciduous forests of various types and forest steppes.
On the territory of the Russian Federation, European roe deer are found in Moscow, Tver, Ryazan, Yaroslavl, Ivanovo and Vladimir regions. As well as, in the south-west of Mordovia and the western areas of Penza, Saratov and Volgograd regions, along the coast of the Don to the Sea of Azov; from the lower reaches of the Don to Salsk, in the Ciscaucasia.
Methods of hunting permitted for use:
- using wheel transport,
- ambush hunting, corralling,
- using dogs of hunting breeds, except for hounds
Permitted hunting tools:
Hunting firearm with a rifled barrel of caliber not less than 5 mm (but not more than 10 mm) and a seating distance of at least 39 mm (using a caliber of 5.6 mm for a rim-fire cartridge is permitted only for hunting musk deer); hunting fire smooth-bore long-barreled arms, including threaded length no more than 140 mm (only using bullet cartridges); hunting firearm combined weapons (smooth-bore and rifted gun), including with rebarreling and auxiliary rifled barrels; cold bladed hunting weapon. It is allowed to hunt for roe, musk deer and fallow deer using buck shot.