The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Can you tell deer apart by their droppings?

Sometimes it is but as with slots (hoof prints) there’s no substitute for experience and it is a great help if you already know what deer are on the ground.

Deer pellets are called ‘crotties’ or ‘fewmets’ and they generally conform to a basic, short cylindrical shape with, as I was taught many years ago, “a pimple at one end and a dimple at the other.”

They are black or very dark brown and shiny and those from big animals tend to be larger than those from small ones, so it’s not rocket science.

The size of crotties from the various species of deer can overlap so it is inappropriate to be too dogmatic and, as usual, the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ are not a part of anything to do with natural history.

On the matter of difference between the sexes, there is certainly a tendency for the male’s droppings to be larger and stick together in a lump more reminiscent of sheep poo.

That is more marked during the rut when, as with humans, everything can get a bit sticky.