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Roe deer

- More roe deer than ever before

The roe deer is our smallest deer, and is the size of a large dog. It has lived in Denmark for as long as people have been in existence. Bone fragments from roe deer have been found in kitchen middens from the Stone Age, over 5,000 years ago. Today roe deer are widespread throughout the country. The stock level has increased in recent years and there are now around 500,000 animals. During the day, the roe deer stay in forests and scrub. In the dusky morning and evening hours, they dare to move into more open grassland to graze. The number of roe deer has risen because there are now more winter-green fields that provide food for the roe deer in winter. In addition, many open natural meadows and marshes have become overgrown, and many sheltering hedges and wild vegetation have been planted, providing more hiding places and guide lines in the landscape that the roe deer can follow.

Hunting for roe deer tracks
Especially in winter, roe deer like to eat the branches and bark of the trees. It can leave the trees with ripped and torn bark. Every year, the roe buck loses its antlers and it grows new ones. When the antlers grow, they are covered with a layer of skin called ‘velvet’, which the buck scrapes off by rubbing or sweeping the antlers on branches and tree trunks. This makes very distinctive marks in the wood. Perhaps you might be lucky enough to find some old antlers in the woods. Sometimes you can hear a strange barking sound in the forest. This is the way the deer call to each other. The deer’s fur is white under the tail, the so-called mirror. The mirror can be clearly seen when the deer flees from an enemy and the white mirror warns his co-species of the danger. Roe deer footprints can often be seen on the forest floor or on the forest road. If you look very carefully, perhaps you can see and follow the deer’s path or track through the forest.

Tracks: The roe deer’s footprint or hoof print is about 4.5 cm long and approximately 3 cm wide. Roe deer droppings are usually black, smooth, short and cylindrical. They are 10-14 mm long and 7-10 mm wide.

Facts: Roe deer can weigh up to 30 kg and measure 125 cm in length. Shoulder height is 65-75 cm. The roe deer has a reddish-brown summer coat, and a thicker, longer-haired grey-brown winter coat. The roe deer has 1-2 lambs each spring. The roe deer’s young (fawn) has light spots on the back and sides. The fawn loses its bright spots when it changes to its winter coat in autumn.