The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

When deer stalking what’s the collective term for roe?

Do you know? Here's a piece that the late Richard Prior wrote back in 2011 that is still relevant today.

Roe deer

E4T0F0 Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) doe and young bucks with antlers covered in velvet foraging in field in spring

Now that we’re in roe stalking season, a few stalkers are wondering what the collective term for roe deer is? Do they have their own collective noun or is it simply ‘herd’?

The thing is, roe deer are not herd animals, so this would be a misnomer. What is the correct collective term for roe? (You might like to read what the different barks of a roe deer mean.)

Correct collective term for roe deer

Roe tend to congregate in the middle of fields in winter, but close study shows that in no way do they form a cohesive herd, and still cling to their family structure.

However, if there are six or more of them together, the correct term is a bevy of roe. (Read how to spot the signs of the roe rut.

One can have a lot of fun with the language of medieval hunting, but in the Middle Ages, using the right term was vitally important if you wished to retain your reputation as a hunter and a gentleman.

Make a mistake and not only would you be ridiculed by your fellow hunters, but you could also find yourself bent over the body of a deer and belaboured with the flat of a ceremonial sword.

More specific terms for roe

Roe clustered together are then a bevy. In addition, the tracks roe left in the grass were not slots but foil, and its droppings were crotties.

At rest, the roe deer was not harboured like a stag but bedded, so when disturbed it was unbedded.

Once successful in the hunt, the hunt servants would not undo, but hurdle it.

Recent research has shown that the Norman nobles who invented this language were generally served at the banquet which followed a hunt with haunches, while the lower orders made do with the fore-end and, of course, the offal which made the celebrated humble pie. (Read our venison recipes here. )

So in answer to the question, the collect term for roe deer is a bevy of roe. (Read the collective nouns for different birds.)

This article was originally published in 2011 and has been updated.