The roe is a dapper woodland deer. Very widespread on the Scottish mainland, it is also quite shy of humans. So if you see a roe, keep your distance, stay quiet and hope for a prolonged view.
What to look for
The roe is a medium-sized deer (much smaller than red deer) with a sleek brown coat, large black eyes and nose and a very distinctive white patch on its rump. Males (bucks) have short antlers; females (‘does’) don’t.
Mating season for roe deer is in July and August. At this time, bucks chase does around prominent features such as a tree of large rock. This produces circles or figure-of-eight patterns of flattened vegetation, known as ‘roe deer rings’.
By the 1700s, the north of Scotland was the only part of Britain where native roe deer survived. Since then, re-introductions in many places and the cover provided by new plantations have allowed roe to spread and thrive.
When and where to see
The most likely places to see a roe deer are often at the fringe of woods, where trees meet fields or moorland, or along quiet woodland paths. Early morning and dusk are good times. Listen for the loud bark of roe bucks in summer.