Fallow Deer

Fallow Deer
Fallow Deer in the wood adjacent to the chalk downland
Fallow Does at the foot of Bepton Down.
Fallow Does at the foot of Bepton Down.

Fallow Deer (Dama dama)

Although initially introduced by the Romans they were kept within enclosures known as “vivaria”.  At the collapse of the Roman Empire these Fallow deer became extinct.  This conclusion was reached after genetic analysis.  They were re-introduced by the Normans and were initially kept in deer parks.  However by the 15th century many had escaped and became the ancestors of all the Fallow deer in Britain today.

The buck will measure around 90cm at the shoulder and weigh between 60-100kg.  It is easy to spot young backs as they will have a single spike until the age of three when they will grow broad, palmate antlers.  The doe is around 80cm at the shoulder and weighs in at between 30-50kg.  As in the photo the most common coat colour is fawn with white spots.  The white rump patch is outlined in black and they will have a black stripe along their back ending in a fairly long tail.  Other colours exist and these can vary from   Melanistic to white.

The rut usually starts in late September and is normally over by the end of October.  The buck will emit a groan practically constantly throughout this period and will establish a rutting stand where does are herded into a harem.  Single fawns are born in June or July after a gestation of 229 days.

The close season for Fallow deer runs from 1st May until 31st July for bucks and from 1st April until 31st October for does.