A small deer of light and graceful build, with a relatively short body. The ears are long (12-14 cm), pointed, tail rudimentary (2-3 cm), hidden in the hair.
The color is one-color - red in the summer, gray in the winter. Blond hair on the buttocks under the tail forms a “mirror”. In newborns, roe deer are spotted. The coat is thick, but with brittle hair.
Hornless females. The horns of the males are straight, small, set almost vertically. They bear 3 (in Asian subspecies - up to 5) processes in the terminal part.
Five subspecies of roe deer are known. European roes are small: body length 100-135 cm, height at the withers - 75-90 cm, weight - 20-37 kg. Asian roe deer, especially Siberian deer (Capreolus capreolus pygargus) - larger: their body length reaches 150 cm, weight - 60 kg. Females are smaller than males.
Roe deer lives in Europe to the north to Central Scandinavia and the Gulf of Finland, the mouth of the Kama and the upper Pechora, not found on the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Ireland. Further, its range captures Asia Minor, Northern Iran, Northern Iraq, the Caucasus and Crimea. It inhabits Siberia and the Far East, reaching northern Kazakhstan in the south, inhabits the Tien Shan, Altai, northern Mongolia, northeastern China, and Korea, and is found in the south of eastern Tibet and northern Sichuan.
Lifestyle & Nutrition
Roe deer prefers light sparse forests, with large clearings, mountains and clearings, and a forest-steppe. It also occurs in shrubbery and reed beds along the banks of steppe rivers and lakes; it rises along mountain slopes to subalpine and alpine meadows (up to 3,500 m above sea level). In Western Europe, it is kept in small forests, from where it enters the fields.
In summer, roe deer graze in the morning, evening and the first half of the night. In the afternoon, especially in the heat, they lie in dense grass or bushes. In winter, they graze at any time of the day, but during heavy snowfalls they leave into the forest. In winter, they rest in recesses in the snow, raking the snow to the forest floor.
Roe deer do not tolerate high snow cover, in winter they try to walk along animal paths, along the track or road. In Europe, roe deer are relatively sedentary and only replace pastures, in the mountains they make seasonal migrations, going down to the foot of the mountains in winter. Massive autumn roe roe in less snowy areas (100-200 km) are in the South Trans-Urals, Transbaikalia, Amur Region. Roe deers swim well and during migrations such rivers as the Yenisei and Amur freely cross.
The largest (up to 70%) share in the feed diet of roe deer all year round are herbaceous plants. Of the trees and shrubs most often eats aspen, willow, mountain ash, linden, birch, oak, ash. In winter, it sometimes feeds on the needles of young pines and junipers, but unlike deer and elk it does not eat bark. He likes aquatic plants (shift), for which he comes to swamps and lakes. Mushrooms eats in small quantities. Eats berries, chestnuts, acorns, beech fruits and wild fruit trees.
The main enemies of roe deer are wolves and lynxes, in the south of the Far East - harzahs. Young roe deer are attacked by foxes.
Social structure and reproduction
Despite the fact that roe deer can form large herds during roaming, she is an animal - "individualist". In summer, roe deer are kept in small groups: females with young, males - individually or 2-3 goals. In the fall, after the end of the rut, mixed herds of up to 20-30 heads are formed, decaying in the spring. For seasonal roaming, roe deer are combined into herds of 50-100 animals.
The roe race takes place in August - October. Males take part in breeding at 3-4 years of life, and females at 3, less often in the second year of life. During the rut, the males are very excited, make "chuffing" sounds, fights arise between them, which often end in injury to the opponent. There are 2-3 females per male, or the male keeps the same female during the whole rutting period (partial polygamy).
Roe deer pregnancy lasts 9 months, but the embryo does not develop from this period 4–4.5 months. Roe deer is the only artiodactyl whose pregnancy has a latent period. Typically, females bring 2 cubs, rarely 1 or 3. Newborn roe deer stay for a week where they were born, hiding in the grass. After 7-8 days, they begin to go after their mother. The female feeds the roe deer 2-3 months.
Roe deer have a lifespan of 11–13 years, some males survived up to 16 years.
What does it look like
European roe deer is a small graceful deer. The weight of males is 22–40 kg, body length is 108–136 cm, height at the withers is 75–92 cm. Females are slightly smaller than males. The tail is very short (2-3 cm). The horns of the males are relatively small (15–30 cm long, 10–15 cm wide), with many tubercles - “pearls”, females are hornless. In winter, the color of the beast is gray or grayish-brown, in summer it is red. Newborn roe deer spotted.
The roe deer diet includes about 900 plant species. In the summer it is mainly a variety of herbs. In winter, mainly shoots and buds of trees and shrubs go for food. During the harvest years, roe deer eat acorns, beech nuts and chestnuts in large quantities, digging them out from under the snow. The animals go out to the fields to feed on hay and uncleaned crop residues - corn, alfalfa, sugar beets, potatoes. The daily diet of European roe deer on average includes from 1.5–2.5 kg to 4 kg of green plant mass.
From March to September, roe males rub their horns on the trunks and branches of trees. So they mark the territory, warning rivals that the site is already occupied. An important role in the life of roe deer is played by sound signals: whistling and stamping feet express anxiety, hissing - strong excitement, barking - alarming, squealing - a signal issued by a caught animal.
In spring and summer, animals are more active at night and at dusk, in winter - at the beginning of the day. In winter, in frosty weather, feeding is longer.
In summer, most roe deer lead a single or family (females with offspring) lifestyle, and in winter - herd. In meadows and fields, the number of animals in the group can reach 40–90 individuals, and in forests of the group only occasionally reach more than 10–15 animals.
If one of the roe deer assumes a pose of anxiety, the other roe deer are immediately alarmed, stop grazing and pile up. The flight of one animal usually becomes a danger signal, while it clearly has a “mirror” - a spot of white wool located near the tail.
Frightened roe deer move irregularly up to 4–7 m long and periodically jump upward by 1.5–2 m. The adult roe deer runs at about 60 km / h, but its run is short: in the open, it usually runs 300–400 m, in thick the forest - 75-100 m, after which it begins to make circles, confusing the pursuers. These little deer swim well.
The main enemies of roe deer are wolves and lynxes, stray dogs, brown bear, newborn roe deer exterminate foxes, badgers, raccoon dogs, martens, wild cats, golden eagles, eagle owls, wild boars. Roe deer have a life expectancy of about 10–12 years, although some individuals survived in nature to 15–17 and in captivity to 19–25 years.
In the Red Book of Russia
European roe deer is listed in the Red Books of the Saratov and Tula regions of the Russian Federation. The main limiting factors are improper hunting and hunting management, as well as an increasing population of gray wolf in the Saratov region. According to the IUCN classification, European roe deer refers to taxa of minimal risk. With an excessive increase in the density of roe deer, the population itself controls its abundance: in places with increased density, there is a large mortality of animals from diseases, mainly from helminth infections.
Due to its large number of roe deer - the most famous hunting and fishing representative of the deer family in Eurasia
For unknown reasons, male roe deer can grow abnormal horns in the form of two (and sometimes even one) spokes without appendages. Such animals pose a huge danger to other males. During ritual battles, their horns do not enter into adhesion with the horns of the enemy and often pierce the opponent. Roe deer are sometimes called wild goats. However, this animal has nothing to do with goats.
Kingdom: Animals (Animalia).
A type: Chordates (Chordata).
Grade: Mammals (Mammalia).
Squad: Artiodactyls (Artiodactyla).
Family: Deer (Cervidae).
Gender: Roe Deer (Сapreolus).
View: European Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus).
This small ungulate animal belongs to a special genus of the deer family. Roe deer is characterized by a slender physique. The body length is about 130 cm, the height at the shoulders is 75–90 cm. The live weight of the male reaches 41 kg. It has small, slightly branched, with underdeveloped tubercles of the horns up to 25 cm long. Females do not have horns. Every year, in late autumn, males drop their horns, and in December - January, the growth of new ones begins, which completely ossify in May - June. The color of the coat is reddish in summer and grayish-brown in winter. Around the tail at all times of the year there is a pure white spot, the so-called “mirror”. Of the sense organs, roe deer have the most developed sense of smell and hearing, while vision is very mediocre. Being on the leeward side, it is able to smell a person or a predator for a long distance.
Typical roe deer stations are forest lands interspersed with meadows with rich grassy vegetation, lakes and cut by rivers and streams. More often they are found in deciduous and mixed forests, but do not avoid conifers, preferring sparse pine forests with rich undergrowth and berry. Roe deer willingly keep in shrubby thickets, on the outskirts of marshes and on overgrowing mowings. Roe roe easily coexists in the immediate vicinity of villages and even near large cities.
Roe deer feeds on grass, leaves and shoots of shrubs and trees, berries and fruits. In summer and autumn, its main food is various herbs, leaves, mushrooms and berries (mountain ash, lingonberries, cloudberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.). Collects nuts and acorns from the ground. Sometimes it enters the fields where it eats clover and other cultivated plants. In late autumn, eats shoots and buds of trees, shrubs and young needles. This food remains basic in the winter. At this time of the year, raking the snow, the roe deer takes out dry leaves and grass from under the snow, and sometimes eats wood mosses and lichens. She also eats hay from stacks left in forest glades. For most of the year, he willingly visits salt licks.
Roe race takes place from late July to mid-September. Pregnancy lasts about 9 months. Calves will be born in April-May. Usually there are two, but as an exception there may be four. Young females often bring one calf. In the early days of the roe deer, they are helpless, lie motionless in the grass, remaining invisible due to the spotty color. A female is nearby. After 6-7 days, they begin to follow their mother, hiding in case of danger. Milk feeding continues until the end of summer, but young people long before this begin to eat grass. At the age of 2-3 months they are already slightly inferior to adults in running speed.
The enemies of the roe deer are the wolf and the lynx. For young calves, a fox that tracks them in the absence of a mother is also dangerous. Roe deer are susceptible to helminthic diseases, most often parasitic cerebellum, cerebral piles and hepatic fluke parasitize them. Of the external parasites, roe deer, blood ticks, ticks, nasal and dermal gadfly are very concerned.
In the northwestern regions, the distribution limit of roe deer is found. The northern border of the species range ran along the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland to Leningrad, along the Neva and further east along the shore of Lake Ladoga to the river. Saying. From here, sharply turned south to the city of Tikhvin and to the Novgorod region (Lavrov, 1929).
The distribution and abundance of roe deer in the Northwest have repeatedly undergone significant changes. Before the revolution, roe deer was widespread in the Pskov and Novgorod provinces and was the subject of significant fishing (Soloviev, 1922, 1926).
Later, on the eve of the revolution and in the first years after it, the number of roe deer declined sharply due to massive poaching. The final extermination of this species was suspended after the decree on the complete prohibition of hunting for ungulates in the European part of the RSFSR (Soloviev, 1925, Lavrov, 1929).
An increase in the number and restoration of the roe deer range began in the 30s, reaching a peak by the end of the 40s. During this period, it was found not only in most districts of the Novgorod and Pskov regions, but in a number of western, southern and central regions of the Leningrad region. Its habitats were found in Slantsy, Lomonosov, Kingisepp, Volosovsky, Gatchinsky, Luga and Tosnensky, Volkhovsky, Kirishsky, Tikhvinsky and Boksitogorsky areas. Roe deer was also observed in the southern part of the Vsevolzhsky region. Within the Leningrad Region, an increase in the number of species occurred in subsequent years. This was facilitated by the organized large hunting farms of sports societies with a significant staff of rangers, and in the western former border and border regions hunting was not carried out at all.
By 1949, stocks of roe deer in the Leningrad Region amounted to approximately 500 animals. The highest population density was observed in the western and southwestern regions, where lands with more favorable living conditions were located. In Lomonosov, Volosovsky, Kingisepp, Slantsev and Luga regions, the number of roe deer exceeded 250 animals. Significantly lower population density was in the central and southeastern regions, where a large area is occupied by swampy coniferous forests and sphagnum bogs. In the Gatchina and Tosno districts included in this group, approximately 50 animals lived.
In the eastern and northeastern regions, the area of stations characteristic of roe deer is small. The possibilities of its existence are also limited here by a longer occurrence duration and a depth of snow cover exceeding 50 cm. With a depth of snow, especially in March, when the embryos already reach a rather large size, the females become especially easy prey for predators. In this group of districts, about 50 roe deer were counted in the Volkhov region, up to 35 in the Tikhvin and 15-18 goals in the Boksitogorsky district.
After 1949, the number of roe deer in the northwestern regions again began to decline sharply. This was primarily due to poaching. Particularly large livestock damage was caused in connection with an increase in the number of beagle dogs and non-compliance with the terms and rules of hunting with them. Many roe deer were also destroyed by wolves that multiplied during the war.
In the period of the smallest number (1955-1960) in the Leningrad Region, roe deer were found only in separate isolated foci in the Gatchina, Luga, Kingisepp and Vsevolozhsk regions, and its total number in the region did not exceed 50 animals. In recent years, the stock of this beast has declined even more. A small amount of roe deer remained in the vicinity of the settlements of Ivanovskoye and Kotly in Kingisepp district, near the Narva reservoir, in Gatchina and in the south of the Luga region. Single individuals were found in the Volkhov district. Intermittent, focal distribution was characteristic in this period for the Novgorod and Pskov regions. According to questionnaires, the Oka State Reserve in the Novgorod Region lived 130 in 1965, and 91 roe deer in 1966, according to the same data, in the Pskov Region in the year 1965 there were 550 roe deer, and in 1966 - 460 roe deer. In the Novgorod region, the highest density is observed in Starorussky and adjacent regions; in the Pskov region, roe deer is found in Porkhov, Nevel, Ostrov, Pustoshkinsky and other southern regions.
According to a questionnaire survey conducted in 1966, roe deer numbers in 86 sites of the Leningrad, Novgorod and Pskov regions show that it is rare and in small quantities in the land.The accounting data are presented in table. 25.
The current abundance of roe deer in the northwestern regions remains low and, apparently, does not exceed 500-600 heads, of which about 50 are in the Leningrad region, 100-150 in the Novgorod region and 350-400 in the Pskov region. (Rusakov, 1969). The northern border of its restored range does not yet coincide with the former, especially in its northeastern part.
In 1963, 12 Siberian roe deer were introduced by the Leningrad Volunteer Society of Hunters, and after winter overexposure, 7 roe deer were released in the Tosnensky District in the vicinity of Lake Pendikovsky (5 roes died during overexposure). Some of the animals were first observed in the release area, while others migrated. There is currently no data on their whereabouts.
Questionnaire count of roe deer in Leningrad, Novgorod and Pskov regions in 1966
Provided that hunting is managed properly, it is possible to restore the previous population of this species and even significantly increase it in the northwestern regions and especially in the Novgorod, Pskov and western and central parts of the Leningrad Region. This can be facilitated by the fact that the roe deer is unpretentious in choosing food, is kept in a densely populated area, where it is not subjected to persecution by humans and predators, eagerly eats top dressing.
It is known that in the hunting farms of Western Europe and in the Baltic republics, the population density of roe deer lands varies from 50 to 250 animals per 1,000 ha. This is achieved by carrying out a complex of biotechnological measures, which include: sowing food fields, winter feeding of animals and the installation of salt licks, shooting predators, etc.
Roe deer is an interesting object of sports hunting. From each animal you can get 12-14 kg of meat of good quality, and in the first half of winter, another 2-2.5 kg of fat. Suede, carpets or fur products are made from her skins. Horns are used as jewelry or go to various crafts.
Roe deer body structure
Animals of medium size. The height at the withers of adult males is from 65 to 95-100 cm. Body length is from 100 to 150 cm. Weight is from 20 to 60 kg. The sizes of the females are slightly smaller. The length of the skull is 190-250 mm. Tall legs. The height at the withers is approximately equal to the length of the body.
The height in the sacrum of the centimeter is two to three higher than the height at the withers. Therefore, the back line is slightly inclined forward.
The head gradually tapers towards the end of the muzzle and does not seem long or heavy. Ears 10-15 cm long, make up more than half the length of the head, have pointed tips. The nasal mirror is dark in color, occupying almost the entire space between the nostrils and the middle part of the upper lip to its lower edge. Its upper border in the form of a straight or slightly swollen line passes below the upper edges of the nostrils. A strip of hairless skin also extends along the lower, and sometimes their outer edge. The eyes have a dark brown iris and oblique pupils.
The tail is short, no longer than 2-3 cm, hidden in the buttocks and croup in the hair surrounding it. The hooves are narrow, pointed, lateral - about half the length of the main ones and, when walking, usually do not touch the soil. The color of the hooves is black.
Horns up to 40 cm long, dichotomously branching, normally have three processes each, while the infraorbital processes are always absent, and the middle ones are directed forward. Occasionally, the number of processes on each horn can reach four or even five. At the site of discharge, the middle process, the apex of the horn is bent back and branches again, so that the front of the terminal processes is directed almost vertically.
History and distribution of roe deer
The roots of the genus Capreolus Gray lead to the Miocene muntzhaks (subfamily Cervulinae). Already in the Upper Miocene and Lower Pliocene, both in Europe and Asia lived a group of forms similar in a number of characters to modern roe deer and united in the genus Procapreolus Schloss. Even closer to them is the Middle Pliocene genus Pliocervus Hilzh. The genus Capreolus dates back to the Upper Pliocene or Lower Pleistocene, and the species Capreolus capreolus was established with certainty only at the end of the Ice Age.
In the relatively recent past, the range of roe deer, at least in temperate latitudes, was continuous. Its northern border is connected with the line of the average maximum depth of snow cover of 50 cm. The maximum abundance zone of this beast covers areas where the snow depth does not exceed 10–20 cm. Due to predatory extermination in the pre-revolutionary years, the range has split into several parts, only as a result of measures taken in recent years, roe deer have again begun to populate areas in which they have been absent for several decades.
Types of Roe Deer
A large number of local forms have been described that are accepted by different authors either as subspecies or as independent species. At present, the point of view that considers all local forms of the genus Capreolus as subspecies of the same species is considered more generally accepted.
There is also no consensus on the number of subspecies. Some accept over fifteen subspecies. More correct should be considered the point of view of K. Flerov, reducing their number to four.
1. Roe deer - C. capreolus capreolus L. Dimensions are relatively small, body length about 125 cm, height at the withers about 80 cm, skull length from 190 to 216 mm, live weight up to 41 kg. The general background of winter coloring is grayish-brown, darker than that of other races, especially on the back of the back and on the sacrum. In summer coat, the color of the head is gray or brown, which differs sharply from the color of the back and sides. The bases of the hair up to half the length are gray-brown or dark brown. The auditory blisters on the skull are small. The horns are thin, usually no longer than 30 cm, are strongly brought together by their bases, so that the sockets often come in contact with each other. The trunks of the horns from the bases are directed upward almost in parallel, sometimes even with an inclination inward. Pearls on them are poorly developed. Distribution: Western Europe (including the British Isles and the Scandinavian Peninsula), the European part to the Volga and the Caucasus, Crimea, Transcaucasia, Asia Minor, Palestine, Iran.
2. Siberian Roe Deer - S. capreolus pygargus Pallas. Large sizes, body length about 140 cm, height at the withers up to 90 cm or more, skull length 215-250 mm, live weight up to 65 kg. The color in winter is gray, brownish on the back with an admixture of reddish tones. In summer, the head is plain with a back and sides. The hair on the whole body, except the ridge, has white bases. The auditory blisters on the skull are large, swollen. Horns up to 40 cm or more in length, often have 4 or more processes, are widely spaced in the bases, the distance between the corollas is almost equal to the diameter of the horn, and even more. The trunks of the horns are sent from the base to the sides and up. Pearls on them are highly developed and sometimes take the form of short processes. Distribution: eastern regions of the European part of the USSR beyond the Volga, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Urals, Siberia up to Transbaikalia and Yakutia inclusive, western China (Xinjiang), northern and north-western Mongolia.
3. Manchurian roe deer - C. capreolus bedfordi Thomas. The sizes are large, but slightly smaller than the previous shape, the length of the skull is 211–215 mm. Winter color is grayish-red, mirror with a faint reddish tint. The head is more red and brown than the whole body. Summer coloring is intensely red, sometimes turning brown on the upper side of the body. Proportions of the skull, as in S. s. pygargus. Distribution: Khabarovsk and Primorsky Territories, northern and northeastern China, Korea.
4. Sichuan Roe Deer - C. capreolus melanotis Miller. It is similar to the Siberian and Manchu races, but slightly less, the largest length of the skull is from 207 to 223 mm. The color in winter fur is brownish or reddish-gray, the head is rusty-brownish with a dark forehead. Ears are brownish than the head. Summer fur is red. Auditory blisters are more distended than even the previous two subspecies. Distribution: China - eastern Tibet, Gansu, Sichuan, Nanshan provinces to the north to the Gobi, Kam.
On the vast territory of its range, roe deer live in different conditions. In general, this beast is an inhabitant of not continuous forests and forest-steppe. Its current distribution by stations, especially in the European part of the range, is largely due to the development of agricultural crops and direct exterminating human influence. As far back as the 17th century, as was noted, roe deer inhabited the virgin steppes of Ukraine in great numbers and made regular migrations along them. At present, in the steppe zone, it is kept only where there are island forests, steppe branches or bushes overgrown with ravines, gullies, and valleys of steppe rivers.
In Altai, the favorite roe deer stations are gentle slopes of mountains with no outcrops, overgrown with a rare larch forest with undergrowth of birch, aspen, honeysuckle, red currant and other shrubs and trees. Continuous soil cover in such places is formed by cereals and broadleaf grasses up to 50–70 cm high. Most often, roe deer can be found here nearby streams and streams flowing from the mountains, in places where areas of dense bushes thicken alternating with open glades or rare forest stands without undergrowth. They also readily stay in intermountain valleys, especially if there are at least small forest areas or shrubs nearby. As elsewhere, roe deer avoids placers and rocks and does not live in dark coniferous taiga.
Roe food and lifestyle
Roe food is made up of a variety of herbs (mainly from dicotyledons), foliage, shoots, bark and thin branches of shrubs and trees. The species composition and the quantitative ratio of the components of the diet depend on the season and the conditions in which roe deer live. In summer, the main food is grass and green foliage of shrubs and trees. In winter, the basis of nutrition is made up of buds, branches and bark, primarily aspen and willow, and in addition to them, grass rags, not fallen leaves and winter-green plants, extracted from under the snow. However, branch feed, as shown by the study of the contents of the stomach of Crimean roe, plays a significant role in the summer.
It is interesting to note that roe without harm eats a number of plants that are poisonous to domestic herbivores, even such as hellebore and shoot. From cultivated plants, roe deer pluck leaves and clover heads, as well as potato tops. In the Urals, according to L.P. Sabaneyev (1875), raspberries, lingonberries, cloudberries and princesses also serve as fodder, and in the Far East even cranberries.
In winter, wood lichens play a significant role in the diet of roe deer, and with a lack of other feeds, tinder fungi and mosses dug out from under the snow. In the coniferous forest, the needles and the ends of the branches of pines and junipers go for food, while shoots up to 7 mm thick can bite off. Finally, wherever possible, roe deer very willingly stay in winter and feed on hay from stacks not taken out of forest hayfields. Tearing hay, roe deer primarily choose small-leaved forbs (Fetisov, 1953).
Like other types of deer, lacking in mineral salts, roe deer visit natural and specially arranged artificial salt licks. Here, animals lick, and sometimes gnaw, soil containing an increased, compared to other places, amount of salts necessary for the body. Particularly regular visits to solonetzes are in spring and early summer from March to June and autumn from half of August and in September. At the same time, it was established (Pasternak, 1955) that in the spring solonetzes are visited almost exclusively by females, whereas in autumn, especially during the rutting season, males can be seen more often on them. In the middle of summer (July – early August), roe deer are rarely seen on solonetzes, and in winter, probably due to freezing, they are not visited at all.
Roe deer lifestyle in different areas of its habitat and in different seasons is not the same. In the warm season, roe deer are spread more widely everywhere, in winter they concentrate on limited territories, which are usually more favorable in terms of food and climate. In many areas, seasonal movements acquire the character of regular, often massive, migrations. Seasonal roe migrations were recorded in the Urals (Sabaneev, 1875). At the end of estrus, with the first snows falling out, usually in October, roe deer, previously kept in small groups, begin to herd 20–40 animals in herds and gradually move from all adjacent areas to the Kaslinsky Urals, where a significant number of animals concentrate in winter. These migrations from year to year, as a rule, occur on. the same paths are caused by the fact that in the wintering area the depth of snow cover is much less than in the neighboring northern, southern and especially western slopes of the Urals.
Roe deer spend their winter in herds of 10-12, rarely up to 18 goals, consisting of animals of different ages and sex. At the head of the herd is a leader, usually an old female, less often a male. Graze throughout the daylight hours. The beds are arranged by digging up snow to the ground or hard crust. Several animals do not suit one common bed, but on vacation they are closer to each other in winter than in summer. Lying is usually arranged near a tree, bush, stump or other object. A roe deer lies on his chest and stomach, with his legs bent under him, often urinates on a bed and, in the winter, from the urine, you can sometimes distinguish between a male and a female lying. In severe snowstorms and frosts, roe deer climb into the thicket and stand there in a heap. In calm weather, they adhere to areas of little snow, and in the mountains - sunny slopes, where the first greenery appears earlier than in other places.
From February – March, herds begin to break up, the males are the first to separate and hold in groups or alone. In April, pregnant females are separated. In April, roe deer usually migrate to summering sites. In April and May, most of the animals are kept alone, only males sometimes keep in pairs or small groups, along with single females and young. Females spend calving in the most remote places, only after the young growth is stronger, they appear in the meadows and edges. Starting from spring and all summer, roe deer graze mainly in the evening and in the morning, until six or seven. They feed on the fringes, forest lawns, along the banks of small rivers, along the edges of swamps. Daytime hours are spent in sun loungers arranged in shady places, at the bottom of ravines, near rivers and streams, where they willingly bathe in hot weather. Only in the most remote places and where they are guarded and little disturbed, roe deer graze sometimes in the daytime and in the summer. In mountainous areas, roe deer adhere to the northern slopes, if possible, as they give better protection from the heat, in addition, the forage conditions here are more favorable due to the early burning of grass on the southern slopes.
The ability to fertilize (puberty) in roe deer occurs under favorable conditions in the second year of life, but usually females bring children for the first time only at the age of three years. Males practically begin to take part in the rut also at the age of not earlier than three years, when they become able to take part in tournament fights for possession of a female.
The rutting period, even in one locality, is usually extended for a period of at least two months. The beginning and end of it depends on the latitude of the terrain, altitude, food and climatic conditions. In most flat areas in adult animals, it begins in early August or even at the end of July, the height falls at the end of August and beginning of September, and the race usually ends in October. In the mountains, estrus begins later than in the lowlands. Young animals come to the hunt later than the old ones, but it also ends with them too late.
Males during estrus are very excited, eat little, track females along the trail, lose their usual sensitivity and caution. Having found the female, the goat pursues her, driving her from place to place. Often in the clearings and edges, chasing each other in a circle around one tree or bush, roe deer knock vegetation to the ground, forming the so-called "points", which can be several in a relatively small area.The male covers the female on the go, and several coatings can follow each other at short intervals (Dahl, 1930). One male can fertilize up to 6 females per season, several females keep around the male, but sometimes, on the contrary, several males chase one female. In the latter case, cruel fights occur between males, often ending in the death of one of the rivals (Kirikov, 1952). Cases are known (Dahl, 1930), when both males die, clutching tightly during a fight by horns. Sometimes the male strikes with horns and the female evading the cover.
A roe deer is believed to last about 9 months, but during the first four years a fertilized egg develops extremely slowly and only in December does the embryo begin to develop more rapidly (Sakurai, 1906). Recent studies (Stieve, 1950), however, have shown that a period of delayed development does not always occur. It turned out that the roe has a estrus twice a year: from mid-July to late August (main) and from late November to mid or late December (second, additional). The male can fertilize from May to January. If the female is fertilized during the main estrus, then the pregnancy lasts from 9 to 10 months, with the first part taking 5-6 months. At this time, the fruits develop very slowly, and only at the end of December does the second half of gestation begin, lasting 5 months. If the eggs are fertilized during the second estrus, the first part of the pregnancy disappears and the young are born 5-6 months after fertilization.
The calving of females in the majority of areas occurs in the mass in the second half of May – the first half of June, but, in accordance with the extended mating periods, it lasts from the last days of April to July inclusive. Before calving, the female retires to remote places, where in the thickets of shrubs, in high dense grass or in another shelter she brings cubs, the number of which in the litter is usually two, rarely three, four are an exception. Young, especially first-calf, bring, as a rule, one cub.
The cubs are born weighing about 2–2.5 kg, are helpless, cannot even stand, and lie for the first 6–8 days, hiding in tall grass. At this time, they can easily be taken with your hands. Roe deer is a good mother. She grazes nearby, approaches the cub at his squeak when he is hungry or frightened, makes attempts to protect him from enemies, and even follows for some time a man carrying a kid. From seven days of age, roe deer can follow their mother and even run tolerably well, but until 15 days, especially in case of danger, they still hide, stretching their neck and head with their ears pressed. At the age of a month with a little in running, it is not inferior to adults. The mother feeds the young with milk for about a month. By this time, roe deer begin to eat green food, chewing gum appears (Markov, 1948). During the rutting season, newcomers leave their mothers and lead an independent life, but at the end of the rut, they return again and stay with them until the next litter appears.
The life expectancy of roe deer in a natural setting has not been established, but judging by the condition of the teeth on collection specimens, it does not exceed 10-12 years.