Deer stalking
Antlers are not as easy to see as you might think because they look very much like a dead branch. Also, despite the apparent panic in some circles over the burgeoning deer population, there are not that many bucks or stags per hundred acres.

A finger-tip search of 100 acres of woodland can take a long time!

Even in the park and with some big red stags among the herd we have a job to find antlers. This year, when gales brought down a mass of branches from the trees, it was almost impossible unless you almost trod on one. Out in the woods, the problem is far greater.

You can give yourself a better chance of finding antlers by looking in places where deer jump fences or ditches and may jar them loose, or where they squeeze under a low branch.

When an antler is ready to drop, pushed off by the new growth from below, any slight knock or jar can make it fall. Roe cast their antlers in November/December and our other deer in March/May or, particularly in the case of Muntjac, even later. The problem with muntjac is that vegetation is growing fast and soon conceals them. Cast antlers are gnawed by deer and other animals – including my dogs – for the calcium they contain, but it takes a long time for them to disappear completely.