The year has proved an extraordinary one indeed for the roe. For many enthusiasts, the events of 2006 are bound to be dominated by the strange coincidence of two quite exceptional heads being taken within two weeks in the early part of the season. The first was Marco Pierre White?s six-pointer from Broadlands in Hampshire, now the established British record at 222.65 CIC points, which exceeds by 12.4 points the previous record, a Sussex buck shot by Michael J. Langmead in 1971. Apart from its CIC score, Marco?s buck is also the UK record for length at an average of 31.9cm.

This head was eclipsed soon afterwards by Tom Troubridge?s monumental Dorset beast, an eight-pointer that, if eventually confirmed by an international jury, will be the new world record for European roe, at 277.73 CIC points. This was previously held by a Swedish buck of 246.9 points.

What exceptional food supply was available to these bucks is anybody?s guess. All that is certain is that neither received any hand-feeding, as one or two malicious reports have suggested. Because roebuck grow their antlers in winter it is well-known that their size and mass depend on a constant supply of nutrients, principally protein. The autumn of 2006, for instance, has been notable for a fine crop of acorns and other hedge fruit, which in turn should produce some promising bucks next summer.

Two very fine heads were taken in Warwickshire, more regarded as muntjac country. But for the two shot earlier this year, Mr D. White?s extraordinary seven-pointer would have been second in the national list and now lies fourth. Another heavy head with eight points from the same county was shot by Mr K. Franklin, scoring 165.73 points. No fewer than 77 trophies submitted for judgement have achieved gold medal status, of which 15 exceeded 150 points.

The year has also been unusual in the number of multi-point heads. One is always tempted to speculate on the cause: is it genetic, the result of high feeding, accident in velvet or pure chance? Accident may be suggested by signs of damage to the skull or body, or fracture lines in the hardened beam ? certainly many minor mishaps while the growing antlers are still soft can result in a variety of anomalies ? but mostly one accepts it as part of the variability in antlers that makes their study so interesting, if frustrating. On this theme, another Baillie monster has turned up, this time a 10-pointer from Hampshire found dead, as so many have been, by Mr D. Barton. There is still no veterinary explanation for such abnormal growth of bone around pedicles and upper skull.

The gradual spread of roe is signalled this year by the first gold medal head from Kent, a fine old six-pointer shot by Mr R. Williams, which scored 131 points. A silver medal head came from Essex (Roger Benson, 124.98 points), another from North Lincolnshire (Steve Fowler, 116.25 points) and sympathetic mention must be made of Mr I. G. Cox, whose buck from North Yorkshire failed to reach gold by only 0.45 point!

There are stories attached to most trophies and not only the unusually large ones, though at least one stalker has a trophy to remember. Neil Felton?s first roebuck scored 144.18 points! At least I am sure ?that?s another stalker ruined?, as the jealous may suggest, would be quite wrong ? roe stalking simply isn?t like that ? and Neil will go on to be a keen stalker and particular about what he shoots. My own first buck was a bronze and I don?t think I was ruined by the experience.

There were conflicting reports about the rut. In general, it seems to have been rather prolonged and patchy ? a mad response to the call one day followed by blanks when the woods might have been empty. Exceptionally hot weather such as we suffered is supposed to make calling more effective, but doesn?t always work like that. One oft-forgotten point is that when the full moon coincides with the peak of the rut a great deal of activity may go on at night, with a corresponding lack of response the next morning.

As usual, the CIC trophy-judging at the CLA and Midland Game Fairs proved a star attraction and we are grateful to the British Deer Society for its hospitality at both events.

Next week: Scottish roe review 2006

Name County Date Tines Age Length (cm) Span (cm)

Skull wt. (g) CIC Score Comments

M. P. White Hampshire April 06 6 OLD 31.9 9.8 930 222.65 Official CIC

T. Troubridge Dorset May 8 LMA 30.05 11.3 1182 277.73

K. Hicks Somerset May 5 OLD 29.6 10.8 572 142.6

M. Sayfritz Berkshire April 5 LMA 28.55 9.1 530 142.78 Official CIC

Hon C. Pearson Sussex August 6 LMA 28.45 5.1 530 146.23 Official CIC

N. Fane Hampshire August 6 LMA 28 16.5 535 149.5

M. Rose Wiltshire May 5 OLD 27.85 13.5 540 140.43

C. King Somerset May 6 OLD 27.7 13.3 600 164.35 Official CIC

L. Stevens Somerset June 7 LMA 27.45 10.7 514 131.03 Official CIC

P. Gazzard Hampshire August 6 LMA 27.35 11 480 135.88

G. Gray Oxfordshire October 7 MA 27.3 12.4 553 157.25 Official CIC

N. Miller Wiltshire May 6 OLD 27.2 14.7 500 140.9

C. Cornell Wiltshire July 6 OLD 27.15 11.1 434 133.68

N. Fane Hampshire August 6 LMA 27.15 17 565 151.08

A. Wilson Berkshire May 6 MA 26.9 14.5 460 139.45

D. Cox Somerset April 05 8 LMA 26.9 13.6 630 159.95 Official CIC

R. Rashidian Dorset May 06 7 LMA 26.85 19.1 462 137.83 Official CIC

C. Conde Wiltshire July 7 OLD 26.85 13.5 568 147.93

J. Andrews Dorset May 6 LMA 26.75 12.6 547 148.18

R. Burleigh Wiltshire July 8 OLD 26.65 16 620 162.63

N. Felton Hampshire May 6 OLD 26.55 7.1 522 144.18 First buck

N. Blythe Dorset April 8 MA 26.5 20.3 515 145.25 Official CIC

S. Brightwell Wiltshire April 6 OLD 26.5 11.4 460 132.73 Official CIC

C. Bromage Dorset July 6 MA 26.45 17.5 486 140.73

P. Englebrecht Oxfordshire April 6 LMA 26.4 13 480 136.7

P. Selzelter Somerset May 6 MA 26.2 12.7 484 140.2

D. Barton Hampshire May 05 6 MA 26.2 12.9 550 139.6 Official CIC

J. Andrews Dorset April 06 6 OLD 26.1 9.5 567 149.35

K. Hicks Somerset April 6 LMA 26.05 10.2 550 136.53

R. Williams Kent June 6 OLD 26 11.9 450 131 Official CIC

F. Salgado Somerset May 6 LMA 25.95 12.9 532 143.78

P. Bloss Wiltshire July MA 25.8 15.4 582 152.2 Official CIC

K. Reynolds Sussex April 5 MA 25.75 8.6 475 141.18 Official CIC

A. Ayris Wiltshire April 5 OLD 25.7 9.6 570 144.35 Official CIC

A. Mead Wiltshire July 7 OLD 25.65 10.8 488 131.13

B. Beveridge Hampshire Sept 03 7 OLD 25.6 12.2 515 138.3 Official CIC

K. Hicks Somerset August 05 6 OLD 25.6 14.7 494 136.2 Official CIC

R. Hobbs Somerset June 06 8 LMA 25.6 11 490 130.8 Official CIC

P. Bone Hampshire May 6 LMA 25.5 13.3 486 135.45 Official CIC

P. Howard Hampshire 2004 6 MA 25.5 15.2 530 149.75 Official CIC

K. Breur Hampshire June 06 6 MA 25.45 10.3 492 134.43

S. Bull Surrey July 05 6 OLD 25.4 12.9 475 134.7 Official CIC

C. Beadle Somerset August 06 7 LMA 25.4 15.3 530 140.5 Official CIC

D. White Warwickshire July 7 OLD 25.35 13.2 774 205.18

I. Williams Somerset May 7 LMA 25.25 19.3 525 135.43 Official CIC

S. Little Wiltshire July 6 LMA 25.2 11.7 450 130.6

R. Rashidian Hampshire July 6 OLD 25.1 12.7 460 134.65

A. Holmes Surrey July 6 MA 25.05 15.9 500 147.83

L. van Humbeeck Berkshire July 6 OLD 24.9 9.9 560 143.95 Official CIC

T. Dinham Somerset August 05 7 MA 24.75 20.5 460 130.38 Official CIC

K. McDiarmid Berkshire 2006 8 MA 24.7 17 456 134.15 Official CIC

N. Miller Wiltshire April 06 6 LMA 24.65 18 564 143.13

I. Brownlee Hampshire May 6 OLD 24.6 11.6 435 132.3

J. Andrews Dorset May 6 OLD 24.5 8.8 507 137.05

J. Palmer Hampshire August 6 OLD 24.45 12.5 592 150.33 Official CIC

K. Franklin Warwickshire September 8 OLD 24.45 14 615 165.73 Official CIC

P. Johnson Somerset May 6 LMA 24.4 16.8 568 146.4 Official CIC

A. Payne Wiltshire June 6 OLD 24.35 15.8 482 133.68

L. Dart Hampshire July 6 OLD 24.3 10 480 135.75

K. Goodman Wiltshire July 05 6 LMA 24.3 19.6 524 132.25 Official CIC

L. Taylor Dorset 2006 6 LMA 24.15 16.6 428 132.68

S. Fenner Hampshire 1996 6 OLD 24.1 12.4 530 145.05 Official CIC

G. Ingram Sussex May 06 6 OLD 24 7.1 470 134

A. Brunel Hampshire August 6 OLD 24 10.4 500 139

R. Rashidian Hampshire July 7 LMA 23.8 14.2 506 137.3

P. Howard Hampshire 2005 6 OLD 23.8 15.6 635 163.4 Official CIC

D. Barton Hampshire Found dead 10 OLD 23.7 10.5 805 -216.85 Baillie freak

B. L. Edwards Wiltshire April 06 7 OLD 23.6 14 596 144.1

D. Balsdon Devon 2006 6 MA 23.35 11.5 414 131.58

J. E. Rendles Northumbria July 06 5 OLD 23.3 11.25 500 146.85

H. Spiliers Oxfordshire April 7 OLD 23.2 15.6 515 137.1

J. Luke Sussex 2003 8 LMA 23.2 7.7 457 133.1 Official CIC

I. Williams Somerset October 06 6 OLD 23.1 12.3 515 131.55 Official CIC

T. Parker Hampshire September 6 LMA 22.5 9.9 460 135.75