Roe deer, whose name according to legend comes from brown slanting eyes, is one of the oldest representatives of the deer family. A study of the remains found during archaeological excavations confirmed the existence of related animals more than 40 million years ago.
Description and Features
Roe deer - animal small in size sensitive and graceful with a long beautifully curved neck, short legs ending in sharp hooves. The average height at the withers is 80 cm, body lengths are 1-1.4 m. The muzzle is dull with large bulging eyes. The ears pointed up make up slightly more than half the length of the skull. The second name of the animal is a wild goat.
The hind legs of the animal are longer than the front ones, which determines the movement mainly in jumps, allows you to make jumps with a height of more than two and a length of up to six meters, bewitching with its beauty.
The short body is crowned with a small tail, invisible due to the thick fur. When the animal is on its guard, the tail rises and under it a white spot is visible, called a mirror by hunters.
The male differs from the female not only in larger sizes, but also in horns, which begin to grow in the fourth month of life. Roe horns not as branchy as deer, but have their own characteristics. Growing vertically to the head from the age of three have three processes, which do not increase with age, but become more prominent.
The ends of the horns are bent inward, as are the anterior processes. Bone growths with developed tubercles (pearls) appear on the head. Roe deer in winter is gray; in summer, the color changes to golden red or brown.
The famous zoologist, paleontologist, candidate of biological sciences Konstantin Flerov proposed to classify roe deer according to four types:
Representatives of the species inhabit Western Europe, including Great Britain, the Caucasus, the European part of Russia, Iran, and Palestine. Animals are also common in Belarus, Moldova, the Baltic states and in the west of Ukraine.
European roe deer is small in size - the body is slightly more than a meter, the height at the withers is 80 cm, weight 12-40 kg. Winter coat is gray-brown, darker than other species. In the summer, a gray head stands out against the background of a brown body.
Rosettes of horns are closely planted, the trunks themselves are sheer, slightly spread out, up to 30 cm high. Pearls are underdeveloped.
The distribution area of this species is the east of the European part of the former Soviet Union, starting beyond the Volga, the north of the Caucasus, Siberia right up to Yakutia, the northwestern regions of Mongolia and the west of China.
Siberian Roe Deer larger than the European one - the body length is 120-140 cm, the height at the withers is up to a meter, the weight ranges from 30 to 50 kg. Individual individuals reach 60 kg. Females are smaller and about 15 cm lower.
In summer, the color of the head and body is the same - yellow-brown. The horns are spread wide, more prominent. Reach a height of 40 cm, have up to 5 processes. Outlets are wide, do not touch each other. Developed pearls are similar to sprouts. Swollen auditory blisters stand out on the skull.
The spotted color of roe deer is inherent in all species, but in Siberian, in contrast to European, they are located not in three rows, but in four.
- Far Eastern or Manchu
Animals live in the north of Korea, China, in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories. In size, the Manchu roe is larger than European, but smaller than Siberian. A distinctive feature - the mirror under the tail is not pure white, but reddish.
In winter, the hair on the head stands out with a more saturated brown color than the body. In summer, roe deer becomes bright red with a brown tint on the back.
Distribution area - China, East Tibet. A distinctive feature is the largest and most swollen auditory blisters among all species. Sichuan roe in appearance is reminiscent of the Far East, but lower in height and less in weight.
Wool in winter is gray with a brown tint, forehead stands out with a dark color. In summer, the animal acquires a red coat color.
Lifestyle & Habitat
Despite the difference in species, a wide area of distribution, the favorite habitats of roe deer are similar. These include forest-steppes, light deciduous or mixed forests with clearings, clearings. Animals consume a lot of water, so they are often found in shrubbery along the banks of reservoirs.
Dark coniferous taiga without undergrowth of wild goats does not attract due to lack of food supply, high snow cover in winter. From autumn to spring, animals form small herds, numbering up to 20 animals, in the summer each individual lives independently.
In the heat, roe deer graze in the morning, evening and at night, preferring to wait out the heat in the shade of the trees. After the rut, from October to the end of November, wandering to the place of wintering begins in search of food or because of a sharp change in climatic conditions. Long distance movements occur at night, along the way migrating groups often combine with other small herds.
Upon arrival at the place, the animals take shelter in the forest, clearing snow to the bare ground at the place of lying. With a strong wind they lie heaped. In sunny, calm weather, they prefer to arrange places for rest away from each other.
They are arranged in such a way as to control as much space as possible. The wind should blow from the back in order to smell the predator long before it approaches.
Long-distance movements belong to Siberian roe deer. In the zone of distribution of the European species, the climate is milder, it is easier to find food, so migrations are limited to insignificant transitions. Individuals based on mountain slopes descend to lower zones in winter or migrate to another slope, where there is less snow.
Wild goats are excellent swimmers capable of crossing Cupid. But crust above 30 cm for the European species and 50 cm for the Siberian causes difficulty in movement. Young animals peel their feet off the snow crust and often become prey for wolves, foxes, lynxes or harzas. Roe deer in winter tries to walk along beaten paths so as not to get bogged down in the snow.
With a cold winter with a long-lasting infusion, in addition to the attack of predators, the herd faces another danger. There is a massive death of the population due to the inability to obtain food.
In spring, groups return to summer pastures, disintegrate, and each individual occupies its own area of 2-3 square meters. km In a calm state, animals move at a step or trot, in danger they make jumps, spreading over the ground. Their eyesight is underdeveloped, but hearing, smelling work well.
Roe deer includes herbs, shoots, buds, young leaves and fruits of shrubs and trees. In winter, wild goats feed on:
- branches of aspen, willow, bird cherry, honeysuckle, linden, mountain ash;
- moss and lichens obtained from under the snow.
Wild goats in exceptional cases are ready to eat needles, but unlike other deer bark they do not eat. Roe deer are particularly preferred by easily digestible, juicy food. In summer, lingonberries, blueberries and wild strawberries feast on berries.
Mushrooms are eaten in small quantities. They love to graze in meadows with forbs or in clover fields. Acorns, chestnuts, fruits of wild fruit trees, and beech nuts are picked from the ground.
In spring and summer, they consume onions, lilies, a bloodthirsty, umbrella, cereal and Asteraceae. Sometimes they approach closed reservoirs in search of aquatic, succulent plants. Parasites get rid of with wormwood.
They like to visit natural and artificial salt licks, which hunters use when tracking down prey. Animals during grazing behave uneasily and wary, often look around, sniff and listen to every rustle.
Reproduction and longevity
Roe deer puberty occurs in the third year of life. The race begins in late July or August. At this time, an adult bull manages to fertilize up to 6 females. Pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, but has its own characteristics.
The fetus, having passed the first stages of development, freezes up to 4-4.5 months. Its further growth occurs from December to the end of April. If the summer race is missed and fertilization occurs in December, then the pregnancy lasts only 5 months, bypassing the latent period.
The gon itself is also unusual. Bulls do not roar like other deer species, summoning an individual of the opposite sex, but find them themselves within their area. Fights between males from neighboring territories nevertheless happen when they cannot share the object of attention.
For calving, the goat goes into dense thickets closer to the water. The first-born bring one roe deer, and the older ones two or three. The first days, newborns are very weak, lie still, the uterus is not far away from them.
After a week, the kids begin to follow her for short distances. By mid-June, roe deer already feed on their own, and in August the spotted camouflage color is changed to brown or yellow.
By fall, young males have small 5-centimeter horns, discharged in December. From January to spring, new ones grow, like in adults. The average life expectancy of wild goats is 12-16 years.
Roe deer hunting
Roe deer - the object of commercial, sport hunting. The shooting of males is officially permitted with a license from May to mid-October. The hunting season for females opens in October, and ends by the end of December.
Roe meat considered the most valuable among ungulates. It is low-calorie, contains only 6% of low-refractory fats. Suitable for diet food for both healthy and sick people. The most valuable elements are concentrated in the liver, and the antitumor properties are attributed to the liver. Therefore, wild goats are so attractive as an object of shooting.
Animals are always on the alert, it doesn’t matter whether they are on pasture or on vacation. Goats twist in different directions with their heads, move their ears. At the slightest danger they freeze, at any moment they are ready to flee. Unidentified, suspicious objects bypass the leeward side.
Roe deer hunting checks fishers and amateurs for endurance, sports training, speed of reaction, accuracy of shooting. In winter, a lone hunter obtains an animal from an ambush or from an approach.
The second case is more fascinating, requires dexterity, ingenuity and knowledge of the behavior of goats. First, the area is explored. When finding traces, an experienced hunter determines the nature of the movement.
Small and multiple multidirectional footprints of hooves inform that there is a place for lodging and the probability of seeing a herd is high. Often feeding and resting places are located in the neighborhood, so it is worth looking for lodges. Their feature is small size.
This is due to the fact that the animal fits compactly - picks up legs for itself, presses its head closer to the chest. If the tracks are rare, deep - the roe deer fled, to go further along them is pointless.
Hunting terms and conditions from the approach:
- Favorable weather conditions - overcast, windy. You need to go out at dawn.
- Shotgun, equipment prepared in advance.
- Begin bypassing the territory along the edges.
- The movement should be silent, when peering at a certain point, stop.
- You can not smoke, use perfumes.
- Suitable for animals against the wind.
- Snow trails in a zigzag pattern, crossing tracks perpendicularly.
- The chances of success increase when tracking the herd, and not an individual.
- If you heard a branch crack under your feet or saw a goat turn its face in your direction - freeze and do not move for at least 5 minutes.
- Haste and haste when fired is doomed to failure. The gun is put into action when the roe deer stop in order to find out the source of danger after several preliminary jumps from fright.
A wounded animal can run a long distance. To avoid a long pursuit of wounded animals, you need to shoot for sure. The best place for a shot is the front half of the body, namely, the head, neck, chest, under the shoulder blade.
In summer, in addition to hunting from the approach, bulls are hunted with the help of decoy during the rut. The sound should look like the voice of a female. They start quietly, using semolina every 10 minutes, gradually increasing the volume.
Younger animals come running faster. Sometimes the female is shown first, followed by the bull. Hunting is practiced from a tower where the hunter ambushes on a tree, having previously organized a solonetz or corral.
In the second case, the group of hunters is divided into beaters and shooters on the numbers. The former organize a round-up of roe deer with dogs, having preliminarily hung flags on the territory, except for the places where the arrows are.
Roe deer in autumn doesn’t have time to use up the nutrients received in the summer, therefore her meat is considered the most useful at this time of the year, especially in September. Wild goat meat is a worthy reward for a hunter, since tracking down and killing a quick, careful animal is not an easy task.