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The roe deer of the pine marten wood


I've blogged before about my Bushnell trail camera, which for the last nine months has been filming a nearby wood where a pine marten lives.  Because I have been concentrating on this one, small wood, I've begun to get to know the local wildlife really well, especially with the roe deer who sometimes get filmed on the camera as well. The camera footage is really useful for tracking and identifying the different deer.

Roe deer are one of the most common types of deer here, and are really interesting to watch. Sometimes you see them in large groupings, especially in spring, but they are easier to watch than the red deer, and less aggressive. Here are the roe deer in the group that I have identified, starting with the young fawn I spotted a few weeks ago !

Sandy and her fawns

All roe deer 'rut' over the summer, then after a delayed pregnancy give birth in about the middle of the following May. That makes it far easier to work out ages, as well as easier to know when to look for fawns (babies).

After the fawns are born, they spend the first few weeks hidden away in long grass to avoid predators and stay out of danger, and their mum comes back several times a day to suckle them. Dad spotted this fawn hidden in the south part of the wood on the 31st May:

He didn't disturb it, but he had the trail camera with him and he set it up to watch the fawn. Unfortunately nothing recorded until the following morning when there was this video of a roe doe (female) eating the camera:

It wasn't until the 21st June until I saw the fawn again, and that was in a video early in the morning where there was the mum and another fawn just visible ! Roe deer fawns are often born in pairs, so it was good to see both survived. Then two days later this video was recorded on the trail camera which showed them much more clearly:

It was really nice to see this, because many fawns die in their first month. I hope all of these fawns make it through to adulthood.


I have seen this deer a few times in the meadow to the east of the pine marten wood. When I saw him for the first time, I thought it was a female because there were no visible antlers. But if you look closely at the pic below you can see two signs that he's a male: he has small bumps where his antlers will eventually grow through, and he doesn't have a tail tuft:

This roe buck is a bit smaller than the other bucks, so I think he's about 13 months old, which is pretty much adulthood for roe deer. Roe deer fawns live with their mother for the first year, then if the mother is pregnant again the following year, the older child gets chased away by the mother and goes and lives by itself.


Plankton is another young adult buck, probably about two years old, and he and Spongebob have been hanging together. They don't seem to fight or seem bothered about each other yet, possibly because they are too young to start competing. He has really small antlers, and they are maybe his first set. The front tine (spike) is very small, maybe an inch, and the antlers end shortly after that, meaning there are just two tines on each antler rather than the usual three. He was caught on the trail camera in early April when he was in velvet (when the antlers are still growing).

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman was filmed by the same camera in the same spot on 14th April. His antlers were already clean of velvet and had finished growing, and he had a perfect set of six point antlers.

The reason that I called him the Flying Dutchman is because  like the character in Spongebob, on May the 31st, I found him dead by the side of the road. He had been dead for at least a week by then, and he had been hit by a car. I was a real shame.

This was another clip I got of him in late April. He settled in front of the camera for about an hour while he chewed the cud.

As he was a mature buck, he may have been the father to Sandy's fawns.


Patrick is named after the starfish Partick Starr in Spongebob because his antlers only have five points:

I saw Patrick when he was grazing at the old farm near the wood., and I know that he lives near there because we have seen him there a few times. He looks like a strong, mature buck but the antler imperfections might mean had a bad diet or had a disease. The size of the antlers at the base makes me think he is an older adult.


This is the deer that we have seen at this wood the most recently. These pictures were taken yesterday. It might look like he has a full set of antlers, but if you look at the left most pic you can see that it only has four antlers and a small half-antler at the back. 

Mr Krabbs

Mr Krabbs was one of the funniest trail camera videos I got. His antlers are very distinctive, with the left one being an inch longer than the one on the right, and six tines, with the antlers going straight up and not angling towards or away from each other.

He settled down for a rest right in front of the trail camera, but after about 20 minutes he suddenly got spooked by the camera.

The video shows him sitting calmly then he gets startled, jumps up with a hoof ready to attack, but he has a pee before he runs away. The best theory I heard was from @WildlifeKate on Twitter who thought the sun may have moved to reflect off the front LED panel on the camera, causing him to panic.

I think I'd also filmed My Krabbs before when he ate a mushroom when the trail camera was in a different position:

But...is there only one female ?

Roe deer does are more difficult to tell apart, because they don't have antlers which are the main way to tell apart the males. But are there really six roe deer bucks (with one now died) but only one female ? Could there be more than one doe filmed - and maybe more than one set of fawns ? I hope so !

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