At that height it's likely to be a Roe deer marking.
I'm assuming it's a sapling rather than a full grown tree, deer will rub small trees they can get thier antlers around. When the antler is formed the velvet surrounding the bone and supplying it with blood dries out and seems to irritate the deer. It's thought that scraping the antler over saplings rubs the tatty velvet off and gives some relief to the poor buck. Later on when he's trying to show off to the local females he will also vent his hormones on a sapling he's sure he can beat up, scraping his feet at the base of it as well.
You tend to find more of these signs where there isn't a dominant buck in the area and so several younger bucks are trying to jostle for the position - that's why it's advisable to leave 1 dominant male to oversee the others, less tree damage for the farmer.
The fraying on the tree is quite low compared to the size of deer (all deer with antlers fray if there are trees about). If you think about it, the deer has to lower his head so that the antlers (which are postioned by his ears) are facing forward. To do this his head needs to be nearly level with his shoulders or even a bit lower perhaps. This means the fray marks are lower on the tree than you might expect but it is possible to identify the species of deer from the type and hieght of the fray on the tree.
Hope this helps
Last edited by Buckshot; 12-12-2005 at 09:14.
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