The Roebuck or Roe-deer (Capreolus caprcea or Cervus capreolus), Fig. 61, once common throughout Britain, is now restricted to the northern half of Scotland. It is smaller than the fallow-deer, being about 2 ft. 3 in. at the shoulder, and its horns are comparatively small and little branched. The colour is bright reddish in summer, the under-parts white. It does not live in herds like the fallow-deer, but singly or in pairs, driving off its young when they are about nine or ten months old.

Roe-deer, as regards damage, is notable for:

1. Nibbling and browsing on the buds and young shoots of acacia, ash, aspen, beech, larch, maple, oak, silver fir, and sycamore; also, in lesser degree, pines and spruces, and, least of all, alders and birches.

2. Gnawing young trees most during the winter months in plantations with a southern or south-western exposure, hence least on northern or north-eastern slopes.

3. Not gnawing or stripping the bark off saplings or trees of pole size.

4. Bucks selecting smooth, small saplings as fraying-stocks when clearing their horns of velvet, and again during the rutting season, preference being given to acacia, alder, aspen, larch, lime, mountain ash, Weymouth pine, and silver fir, trees on the edges of drives or glades suffering in greatest degree.

5. Varying their ordinary food with beechnuts and acorns, or with the cotyledons of seedling beech and oak.

The Roebuck.

Fig. 61. - The Roebuck.