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Can I call roe deer at anytime of the year?

Is there an art to it?

Roe deer

Roe deer

The answer to whether you can call roe deer year round is both yes, and no. It also depends on who is being asked and sometimes also on the locality. Calling is not only operator-sensitive but also seems to work better in some areas than others. (Read what do the different barks of roe deer mean?)

How to call roe deer

It is generally accepted that, with care and experience, it is occasionally possible to call a roebuck during the rut, either by barking a challenge or by imitating the calls of doe or kid. The kid’s distress call will apparently work occasionally until Christmas or thereabouts, so can be useful during the doe season.

If I sound a little sceptical, I am not alone. Richard Prior, who knows a lot more about deer than anyone else I have ever met, wrote in his wonderful book Modern Roe Stalking: “Books have been written on the art of calling which give precise details of the rhythm, type and duration of each set of calls. Unfortunately the roe have not read these books and so they have no reason to conform to the rules.”

The problem is that, although calling can work, most of us are trying to imitate a call which is very infrequently heard – and if you don’t get it right it alarms deer instead of attracting them.

As a totally incompetent caller I always prefer silence and invisibility to vocalisation, but nothing is cast in stone and deer really don’t like hunters or any other predator sneaking about the woods.

If you really do want to see deer, get a saw and a hammer and nails and start knocking up a high seat; they will probably come to see what you are up to.  (Read our advice on how to build a high seat.)

This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated.