Roe deer

The roe deer is a true native species found in the New Forest. Numbers of roe are very difficult to gauge but it is thought that there are around 350 - 400 on the Crown lands. Roe deer are widespread and common throughout the UK.

Roe deer are essentially woodland animals. They can be seen in any of the more wooded areas of the New Forest at any time of year, but less so in high summer. Early morning or evening are the best times to see them, feeding in small groups at the edges of the woodlands or in nearby fields. They often venture into fields, browsing scrub and grass and can cause damage to cereal crops around the Crown lands.

When alarmed, bucks and does (males and females) give a short bark, often repeated. The roe deer rut is in July, much earlier than other species of deer. However the young (called kids) are born at the same time of year as other deer species, due to delayed implantation, a process in which the fertilised embryo does not attach to the womb until a few months later. Roe deer are the only hoofed animal to do this.

ID tip - Roe deer are small, being around 65cm (26 inches) high at the shoulder - about the size of a small sheep or goat. They are mid-brown in summer and greyer in winter, with a characteristic white backside that is easily seen as they run away from you.  They have short, three-pointed antlers.

Picture credit: Luke Parkinson

  1. Deer
  2. Red deer
  3. Roe deer (you are here)
  4. Sika deer
  5. Fallow deer
  6. Muntjac deer


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