Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)

Roe deer have been living on Estonian lands for at least 10,000 years. As a result of the last couple of cold winters, over half of the deer population has perished. Now, the numbers have stabilised, showing a growing trend in most counties, but still remaining many times lower than what hunters would like to see. The absolute number is extremely difficult to estimate. According to the count for 2015, the population is officially 31,000 roe deer. The species is highly territorial.

The rut of roe deer is in the second half of July and the first half of August. The roebuck “dates” multiple deer in turns. The gestation period is 9 months; with 1 to 2 fawns born in May / June. In autumn, fawns constitute up to 30% to 40% of the population. Adult roe deer weigh up to 30 kg, with fawns weighing 20 kg. Roe deer are subject to very high natural mortality and predation pressure. The percentage of annual overall mortality from hunting is under 10%. To survive the winter, the availability of water-rich shrub plants is important.

Hunting from hides, a stalking hunt or a calling hunt is allowed for roebuck from 1 June until 31 December, and a driven hunt and hunting with an FCI Group 3 or 4 hunting dog (terriers and dachshunds) from 1 October until 31 December. Hunting from hides or a stalking hunt is allowed for deer or fawn from 1 September until 31 December, and a driven hunt and hunting with a dachshund or terrier from 1 October until 31 December.

The best time for a roebuck hunt is in June, before the grass has grown too high. The most popular hunting method is the stalking hunt. During this period, strong trophy roebucks should be spared, if possible. During the rut period, a calling hunt offers the most emotions and results — "calling” the roebuck from a high seat.

Medal-worthy trophies are borne by about 5% of hunted roebucks. Medal-worthy trophies may include antlers weighing 350 grams or more. A bronze medal is 105-114.99 CIC points, silver 115-129.99 points and gold 130 or more CIC points.