Red Deer (cervus elaphus) are the largest wild deer in Europe, and have been native to the United Kingdom since the last ice Age. By Choice Red Deer are a forest-dwelling animal but they have adapted well to life in open upland habitats.
The majority of British Red Deer are found in Scotland, although sizeable herds are found in England particularly Cumbria, Exmoor and East Anglia. Although traditionally, stalking in Scotland seems to be the British ideal of stalking, much larger animals are secured in the lowlands where the food contains more nourishment and the shelter is plenty, compared with the barren hills in Scotland. The pelage of Red Deer is as described and is a rich red in colour. The rump patch is yellowish white and reaches high onto the back above the tail, which is short and the same colour. A dark dorsal stripe runs up the spine from the rump patch to the back of the head, during the rut a Stag’s underbelly will also become black. He will also develop a heavy mane at this time of year which is retained during the winter.
There is a wide variation between the size of Stags and hinds and as mentioned between upland and lowland deer, Mature stags can be twice as heavy as mature hinds in the same herd and lowland deer are often twice as heavy as their upland counterparts, we concentrate primarily on the lowland Stags for his impressive trophy, but can arrange trips into Scotland on request. The Antlers of Red Deer vary widely in length, spread, weight and appearance depending on the food available, the habitat as well as the genetic characteristics. The classic Red Deer head is known as a royal with 2 x 6 point antlers showing brow bay and trey tines, with each main beam topped by a crown of 3 points emerging from a single point on the beam. On our grounds Stags annually are shot with 16+ points, and those with 20+ points are not unknown. A stag’s antlers grow and develop each year of new growth, reaching their peak at about 8-12 years old. However, multi point yearling stags can be seen in our areas (although we do not shoot them). With advancing age the weight drops to the lower part of the antlers and points tend to become shorter and the tops get spindly, this is termed as “going back”. Occasionally Stags do not grow antlers at all, this is termed as a hummel, and these animals tend to be much bigger bodied because they do not use the nutrients required to grow their massive antlers. When the Stags have cast their antlers all disputes are settled by standing on their hind legs and boxing with their front hooves.