I OFTEN see roe deer when I'm out on early morning walks by the edge of the Ochils, the tell-tale flashes of their fleeing white rumps being easy to detect in the rising light of dawn.

Typically, a retreating roe will stop after a hundred yards or so to take one last look at the person that disturbed its grazing – a natural curiosity they seem unable to contain.

Stoats do the same. One will quickly scoot into the sheltered confines of a drystone dyke or other crevice if disturbed by a walker.

But if you wait a minute or two, the stoat just can't resist the temptation to come out of its hidey-hole to have a quick peek at what panicked it in the first place.

Curiosity killed the cat, but perhaps the same adage can be applied to roe deer and stoats.

Roe deer are normally regarded as woodland animals but in some parts of the Ochils they have taken to living on moor and open hill, especially during the summer.

In such areas it is not unusual to spot family groups in summer with their lovely foxy red coats feeding amongst the heather and bracken quite some distance from the nearest wood.

But such behaviour is the exception rather than the rule as the roe normally likes to be close to cover for shelter during the day.

Most woodland in Clackmannanshire will hold at least a few roes and their presence is easily detected by looking out for their narrow paths.

Indeed, roe deer will often venture into the gardens of Wee County towns and villages and can be surprisingly bold.

Roes are creatures of habit and like to use the same paths that will lead to feeding areas in surrounding fields at dawn and dusk.

Unlike the red deer that congregates in herds, roe deer are usually found in ones or twos or small groups.

Roe deer are proficient at jumping, and a fence or low wall usually presents little problem.

However, they do need to be careful, and I imagine many get injured from coming into contact with barbed wire.

The biggest danger to roes is being hit by cars and many become road casualties.

Hitting a roe is no trivial matter as the collision can damage a car and put the driver's life at risk, especially if the car swerves to try and avoid a strike.

As such, it is aways wise to drive with extreme care on country roads at night.