10 Great countries for hunting roebucks
10 Great countries for hunting roebucks
Roebuck hunting is one of the most exciting and challenging types of hunting there is. We have assembled a list of 10 of the best places in the world to hunt roebuck.
"No matter where you are in the world, amazing experiences await"
For many hunters, the spring and summer stalk for roebuck marks the start of the hunting season. This is nature in the raw – a technology-free hunt, untroubled by crackling radios or having to enter complicated dog tracking codes. This is hunter and nature alone. Quiet, peaceful and in harmony. Of course, searching for and selecting a beautiful large buck makes the hunt even more appealing. To shoot or to spare? How close do I dare approach? Where is the wind coming from?
Besides the simple magic of being in the natural world, a trip away from home adds an extra dimension to the hunt. New landscapes, different food, different hunting culture and new friends. The benefit of a buck hunting trip, practically speaking, is that it need not take too long, avoids excessively long journeys, does not require a plethora of gadgetry, and need not be crushingly expensive, as long as you avoid the very largest bucks. In addition, for those who have difficulty finding time off, the hunting season handily coincides with the holiday season.
So how do you pick your country? I have enjoyed amazing hunting in Spain, Hungary, France, Romania, Sweden and on Finland’s Åland archipelago. My largest buck came from Romania, on the day that I found myself just 60 metres from a 300 kg brown bear. An unforgettable experience. The smallest buck was offered by Åland, along with an even greater hunting experience. I was waiting in a small clump of trees surrounded by fields, for a buck to make an appearance. Suddenly, in the binoculars, I notice that a buck has stepped out in front of me, some 200 metres away. At that moment, as if from nowhere, a thick fog rolls in over the landscape. Visibility falls pretty much to zero. And then it happens. Out of the fog, right next to me, barely six metres away, he appears.
Every day in the forest, no matter where you are in the world, amazing experiences await. My advice would be to base your choice on your own interest in a particular destination country, rather than on the size of the roebucks in a tour operator’s advertising. Happy hunting!
Sweden – world-class roebucks
No buck hunting list is complete without Sweden. Magnificent bucks are felled across the country, but the ‘estate bucks’ in the south are often in a class of their own. The largest Swedish roebuck ever taken is the Widtsköfle buck, shot on the estate of the same name in 1982. Its trophy measured 246.9 CIC points and weighed 977 grams. But Northern Sweden has also delivered the goods. The next largest buck was shot north of Umeå in Västerbotten by hunter Jonas Lundgren in 2010. The trophy measured an impressive 234.7 points.
Poland – good value and close by
Poland is a paradise for roe deer. With its reasonable prices and excellent roe deer population, this is a favourite destination for buck fans. Target large bucks and hunt selectively, or target quantity and take several bucks over the course of your trip. The Polish buck season begins in mid-August and continues until the end of September.
Spain – tremendous trophies
Spain may not be the first country to spring to mind when talking about roebuck hunting, but in fact many tremendous bucks are taken every year, especially in the north of Spain. The Spanish hunting season runs from April to September. Many Spanish hunters think that April and September are the best months, even though the rutting season is in July and August. However, July and August are very hot, which means that the deer do not move about as much compared with the rutting season in cooler climes.
Åland – good chance of a raccoon dog
The Åland archipelago, between Sweden and Finland, consists of 6,700 islands – and an impressive roe deer population. The population is estimated at 15,000, with an annual take of around 4,000. Stalking begins on 15 August, lasting till the end of the month. Of course, there are impressive large bucks in Åland, but in general it is not a paradise for trophies. There are however good chances of another sort of game when hunting: the raccoon dog. This invasive alien species is hunted year-round.
Hungary – hunting during the mid-summer rut, and hunting by horse and carriage
Hungary is a tradition-rich hunting country. There are large national hunting areas and wildlife conservation is very professionally managed. Here you can hunt spring roebuck in the wide open fields, but hunting is also permitted during the rut in mid-summer. So don’t forget your deer call! For a somewhat different experience, organisers offer hunting by horse and carriage. The horse walks along the fields at a steady pace and when you discover a buck, you simply step down and start stalking.
Great Britain – high-quality hunting in a beautiful landscape
Buck hunting in traditional Oxfordshire, on Devon’s luxuriant moorlands or in Scotland’s extensive Highlands. There are endless opportunities for the enthusiast looking for high-quality roebuck shooting in a beautiful landscape close to home. In Scotland and England, the roe deer season begins on 1 April and runs to 20 and 31 October, respectively. Did you now that neighbouring Ireland’s first reported roe deer sighting was in 2016? There is officially no roe deer population in Ireland.
Russia – the world’s largest roebucks
OK, let’s admit from the start that we are not talking about the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), but rather a different species, the Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus). That being said, roe deer don’t come bigger than this. An adult Siberian roe deer can weigh 40–50 kg and the horns of a fine buck are generally between 700 and 900 grams, but horns weighing a good bit more than a kilo are also found. The Russian roe deer hunt usually takes place in the huge Siberian birch forests or out in the massive open fields. The best period for hunting is during the rut, which takes place from late August to mid-September.
France – combine holidays, chamois and deer
France has amazing roe deer country and a mild climate. There are many excellent regions, but the south-west is generally considered to be among the very best. The hunting season runs from June to the end of September. In September, in certain areas, roebuck hunting can be combined with red deer stalking and even chamois. In addition to this, the buck hunting season is a prime holiday period in the south of France, so why not hunt for a few days and holiday with the family for the rest of the time?
Romania – hunting in Transylvania
Romania has very fine roebucks, due to their excellent wildlife conservation. Under Romanian law, a hunting area must be at least 7,500 hectares, with some local variations, and each area must also have a professional hunter who is officially responsible for the hunt. In other words, this is just the place for a roebuck hunter looking for a fine trophy animal. The roebuck hunt runs from 1 May to 15 September. The best time to go hunting is the first two weeks of the season and from the late-July rut to early August.
Germany – black roebucks, yes, they do exist
Black roebucks? Yes, there are actually populations of black roe deer in Europe, notably outside Hamburg in Germany and an area of the Netherlands. These bucks very rarely have large horns, but it is of course the colour of the hide that is desirable. However, hunting for black roebucks is an expensive business. You need to reckon on 5,000 euro for a three-day shoot, including one buck.
//Tobias Bestelid has worked as a travel and hunting journalist for many years and has also written a series of guidebooks to various destinations worldwide. His work has taken him to more than 80 countries. Tobias prefers stalking or hard hunting in the mountains.//