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Fallow Deer History
The Fallow deer is considered a neutralised species widely spread throughout England, Wales, Ireland, and Southern Scotland. The meaning ‘a neutralised species’ refers to the way in which the Fallow deer became the most common deer in the UK; they’re not natives.
Introduced by the Normans in the 11th century, the Fallow deer were originally sought for deer parks and kept in ‘vivaria’ (enclosures) within royal grounds for viewing and the occasional hunt.
When deer park interest plummeted, the parks fell into disrepair, and these medieval animals escaped. Later Fallow deer were intentionally released for hunting.
The Fallow deer, much like other species of deer, require careful management as overpopulation can have serious consequences on farmland and woodland ecosystems. There is a known conflict between farmers and the Fallow deer due to damages they can cause to crops.
This majestic and ornamental species of deer still roam within protected grounds, such as Richmond Park, in London, for viewing only.
Fallow Dear Statistics
The Fallow deer is a medium-sized mammal and the only deer species in the UK with palmate antlers. The antlers become full-sized when bucks are 3-4 years old and can reach up to 0.7 metres.
These exquisite animals are between 1.3 to 1.8 meters in length and stand between 0.5 and 1.2 metres.
This particular species of deer have four variations of coat colours. Most commonly, they are brown with white spots along their flanks which fade into grey during the winter months to keep them camouflaged. They also have a white rump with a black horseshoe-shaped outline.
Other variations of their coats are as follows:
- Menil: a paler brown with white spots all year and a caramel horseshoe shape on their rump
- Melanistic: usually a very dark brown to back in colouring, no spots or distinct colouration on the rump
- White: these are rarer than other variations. The colour is more a pale yellow turning whiter with age. This is not to be mistaken as an albino deer. The eyes are the usual dark brown
The Fallow deer have a more elongated face than its counterparts and longer feet too. Due to this, their trail prints are usually 6cm and create deep crevasses within the ground.
The environment to find the Fallow deer in are usually forests, grasslands, and farmlands. As a favourite, these creatures prefer to graze on grass which means they tend to venture out into open spaces – a perfect target.
Hunting Fallow Deer
Although Fallow deer are active throughout the 24-hour period, the prime time for stalking and hunting these beautiful creatures is at dusk or dawn. This is because, during these times, the Fallow deer make use of open spaces; they are easier to target and kill efficiently.
These deer are known to be difficult game to hunt. They are clever and have a strong sense of danger. The best season to hunt the spectacular Fallow deer is in October when the cold encourages the bucks to rut.
The rutting season means the bucks are filled with testosterone, clashing antlers, and fighting for a chance to procure offspring. In doing so, a hunter can go unnoticed to either watch the miraculous fighting-dance or use the opportunity to increase their success of bagging a buck.
When hunting the Fallow deer, take into consideration the animal itself. A shot should only be taken if a person can ensure the killing is humane. If the deer is shot but is not killed with the initial bullet, the shooter will need to follow up to ensure the deer is deposed properly.
Depending on which sex of Fallow deer you are looking to get, the seasons do differ. For males, the open season is between August to the end of April, whereas doe hunting season is a little shorter and is between November to the end of March.
The Fallow deer is a magnificent creature and one which takes skill to stalk but the hunt itself can be a thrilling and eye-opening experience.