Game Warden

Show us your deer...

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Posted (edited)

This past weekend I had a nice White-tailed Deer encounter. It was a young Buck - I estimate around 2-3 years old. I saw it in some undeveloped dune scrub habitat on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, adjacent to Captain Sam's Inlet.

 

The encounter took place at 8am, and I had just turned from shooting some warblers in the shade, so my aperature was wide open and ISO settings were cranked up pretty high - 1000 ISO. Suddenly the deer bounded up from behind a dune line - no time to adjust camera settings.

 

I shot the first few images at f/4 and the sunlit conditions around the deer made for ridiculously high shutter speeds - 1/8000. After a couple of shots, I closed the aperature a bit to f/7.1 to get more of the deer in focus which produced a shutter speed of 1/1600. Wish I had time to lower the ISO but the speedy deer was heading right at me and leaving no time for changing the ISO...

 

I was using a Canon 7D MK1 with a 300mm f/4.0 IS lens.

 

Here is a sequence of images, the first with the Atlantic ocean and some Sea Oats in the background:

 

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In this photo, the deer is completely airborne as it hurdles a bush, and you can see its striped hooves:

 

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Edited by offshorebirder
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The Columbian black-tailed deer is found in western North America, from Northern California into the Pacific Northwest and coastal British Columbia. They are a subset of the larger mule deer found in the Rocky Mountain region of North America. Much of their diet in the summertime normally consists of grasses, but this summer with the extreme drought of the western USA, the dead grass may make for beautiful pictures, but deer are not thriving.

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This deer was photographed on Hurricane Ridge about 5,000 feet above the ocean in Olympic National Park in the State of Washington.

 

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A stately Wapiti deer from Yellowstone NP

 

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A few shots of the Red Deer in Killarney National Par, County Kerry, Ireland. The park has Ireland's only remaining wild herd of native deer (Cervus elaphus), comprising approximately 700 individuals. They are found in upland areas of the park, mostly on Mangerton and Torc mountains. This herd has been continuously in Ireland for 4,000 years

 

 

15528883542_ee6ca91003_b.jpgRed Deer Rut Explored Thanks! by Philip Blair, on Flickr

15351246077_5a2bf7fa66_b.jpgKillarney Red Deer Rut RS006 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

15372575177_b725f809c3_b.jpgKillarney National Park Red Deer Rut by Philip Blair, on Flickr

15558641425_1bc52b85d0_b.jpgKillarney National Park Red Deer Rut by Philip Blair, on Flickr

14917077343_7f35a640c9_b.jpgKillarney Red Deer Rut RS010 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, messed up.

Edited by phil_b

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Black tailed deer, Point Lobos, California

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Posted (edited)

@@phil_b

 

Wonderful images, just exceptional! Are they hard to find there? I spent some days in Killarney some years ago but didn't see any.

Edited by michael-ibk

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@@phil_b

 

Wonderful images, just exceptional! Are they hard to find there? I spent some days in Killarney some years ago but didn't see any.

 

@@michael-ibk

 

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. These were taken in mid October during the rut when a lot of the deer are in lowland areas. We had a 300 mile drive to arrive there at 8am as the sun was rising and the mist was starting to disperse and these were actually taken from the side of the road!

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~ @@phil_b

 

Those are stunning deer photos!

I'd long ago been told that there were wild deer in Ireland, but beyond that I knew nothing.

Your photos and comments fill in the gaps in my awareness.

Thank you so much for posting these in Safaritalk!

Tom K.

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I had wanted to get a few shots of these white Fallow Deer in the frost or snow but December here in Northern Ireland was the wettest on record. Thankfully a colder spell last week brought some frost and a wee touch of snow and I was off work for a few days after having an operation on tuesday so stitches and all, I headed off for a couple of hours much to my wifes disapproval!

This is one of two herds of white Fallow Deet in Ireland, the other being at Mallow Castle in County Cork.

 

 

24397778035_2b94bb3389_k.jpgWhite Fallow Deer by Philip Blair, on Flickr

 

24293618492_722838d6d6_k.jpgWhite Fallow Deer-3 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

 

24293611982_2146463dab_k.jpgWhite Fallow Deer-4 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

 

24401849925_ca2bfabdd0_k.jpgWhite Fallow Deer-5 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

 

23775040733_38f75817af_k.jpgWhite Fallow Deer-7 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

 

24293560712_d8217d6ccb_k.jpgWhite Fallow Deer-9 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

 

 

23775048093_ecf18f50bd_k.jpgWhite Fallow Deer-6 by Philip Blair, on Flickr

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Let me present a Mule deer from Yellowstone NP.

They are quite common in the park with a population of around 1900 individuals. But you need to have your eyes open for them as they are often in the bushes.

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I’ve just recently been going through some of my many deer photos to put some more of them online and thought that this thread could do with some updates as I’ve not added anything to it before and I have seen a small number of the world’s deer species at home and abroad.  As far as I can see the number of actual true deer species is open to debate, as always taxonomists disagree as to whether some of those species that have one or more subspecies should actually be regarded as several distinct species.  Searching online I have seen it stated that there are 43 or 44 species of true deer, that’s as close as I’ve got to finding out how many species there are, some subspecies have already been elevated to full species so I'm sure the number of species will increase. I think so far I’ve seen 13 species or so in the wild but unfortunately I don't as far as I can see have photos of all of these, but I will add shots of the ones I do have, starting with an Asian species.

 

Barasingha

 

The barasingha which means twelve-tined or twelve-pointer in Hindi Rucervus Duvaucelli is a deer species found in the central and northern Indian Subcontinent, it is entirely confined to India and Nepal; originally it was also found in Bangladesh and Pakistan but is now extinct in these two countries. Its common name in English is the swamp deer, the species is currently listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.

 

Distribution map

 

There are three recognised subspecies of the swamp deer

 

The northern or wetland barasingha R. D. duvaucelii found in Terai region of northern India and Nepal this race is by far the most numerous their population can be numbered in the low thousands, I’ve not seen this race.

 

The hard-ground barasingha R. D. branderi occurs in central India it was once found throughout much of Madhya Pradesh and into neighbouring Orissa, as its name suggests it doesn’t live in swamps but mainly favours grassland. The population declined markedly due to loss of habitat, competition with livestock principally cattle and also hunting, their preference for open grassland has made them particularly vulnerable to hunting they’re mainly hunted for their antlers rather than for meat as barasingha venison is not considered to be as palatable as that of other species like hog deer. In time this race was reduced to a single surviving population in Kanha NP and for many decades this park has been their only home. In 1938 there were an estimated 3,000 in the Khana area but numbers continued to decline reaching an all time low in the 1966 of just 66 animals  At one time in Kahna they used to put out baits for tigers in order to guarantee that tourists would get to see them and the primary baiting site was in the main ‘maidan’ the largest area of open grassland and the core barasingha habitat. Inevitably this increased the number of tigers visiting the maidan significantly and as a result barasingha were preyed on far more often by tigers than they had been previously. When this problem was identified they moved the baiting site into the forest allowing the barasingha to recover, after some time baiting was stopped entirely. To try and further boost the population of barasingha in Kanha a large predator proof enclosure was constructed to allow the deer to breed safe from tigers, leopards and dholes that would otherwise prey on them.  The population went up to a high of around 500 in 1988 but then declined again to around 350, the sanctuary however had proven successful so in 2007 they decided to enlarge it. Recognising that there was a real possibility that the hard-ground barasingha could become extinct due to an outbreak of disease or some other issue, to address this concern in the 1980s it was decided to create a second population by reintroduicng barasingha to Bandavgarh NP. Unfortunately this translocation went disastrously wrong; 12 deer were captured but the Forest Department lacked the necessary know how and experience to carry out such an operation and all of the deer died during the move or succumbed later. As a result the operation was unsuccessful, following this disaster they did on three occasions move a total of 25 deer a short distance to the adjoining Supkhar Reserve Forest and most of the animals survived, but they completely gave up on the idea of translocating barasingha or other wildlife long distances.  

 

The following shots all taken in Kahna are scanned slides

 

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Until they started receiving help from South African conservationists largely I would guess as a result of the South African company And Beyond becoming involved in India, in South Africa translocating animals of all sizes is routine and such operations these days are done so efficiently that the loss of animals is minimal, with help from South African conservationists they now have the necessary training and knowledge that they previously lacked.  With South African assistance a herd of gaur (wild cattle) were successfully moved from Kahna to Bandavgarh where the species had become extinct and these animals are doing well there now. This paved the way for a new attempt to translocate barasingha out of Kahna a small number were moved first to the Van Vihar National Park near the state capital Bhopal, and then in 2012 an operation was started to move 20 barasingha to a 30 hectare fenced sanctuary in Satpura NP. Deploying the same methods used in Africa to capture antelopes in 2015 at least 16 deer were captured and moved to Satpura and not a single animal was lost. Once a breeding population has been successfully established barasingha will be released from the sanctuary into the wider park. The barasingha is the symbol of Madhya Pradesh so ensuring the survival of the species within the state is a priority for conservationists in MP.

 

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Having said that the hard-ground barasingha doesn't live in swamps they're quite happy to take to the water

 

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The eastern barasingha R. d. ranjitsinhi is found only in Assam in the northeast of India principally in Kaziranga NP however a small number were known to survive in Manas NP on the border with Bhutan whether any survive the other side of the border is unclear. This race formerly occurred in the Sunderbans in the Ganges Delta that straddles the India/Bangladesh border, but they are believed to have become extinct there over 100 years ago. The eastern race has fared a little better than the hard-ground race but in 1994 the Kaziranga population was put at only somewhere between 350-500 better protection however has seen the population rise and the most recent count in 2016 put the population in the park at 1,148. Following the successful translocation of swamp deer in Madhya Pradesh in 2014 a number of Indian experts assisted by South African wildlife vet Dr Marcus Hofmeyr from SANParks the Assam Forest Department moved a number of a barasingha from Kaziranga to Manas to ensure the survival of the species there and now there are around 100 eastern barasingha in Manas NP. The wildlife in Manas has been very badly affected by separatist rebels who have on a number of occasions occupied the park, recently the situation has quietened down and concerted efforts are being made to restore Manas by reintroducing not just the barasingha but also greater one-horned rhinos. The success of this operation to restore the deer population in Manas means that if there is suitable habitat elsewhere in other national parks or reserves in Assam further reintroductions could be carried providing a more secure future for the eastern barasingha.

 

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Although I saw large numbers of these eastern barasingha in Kaziranga I don't appear to have any shots with large stags in them or at least none that I can see that antlers as large as on the stags that I saw in Kahna yet from recollection both visits were basically at the same time of year. Either all the males in herds like this one were young stags or they just hadn't grown their full antlers I don't know 

 

While the wetland barasingha has the largest population of the three subspecies it too has declined in Nepal largely because of past unrest there during the Maoist insurgency. Last year deer were moved from the Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve to Bardia NP to boost the population there and at some point the reintroduction of these deer to Chitwan NP is planned so overall the future for the barasingha is looking a lot brighter.

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Posted (edited)

Sambar

 

The sambar Rusa unicolor is the most widespread large deer species in East Asia distributed from India across to China and south to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, in recent decades populations have suffered marked declines especially in the east of their range. The only populations that are doing really doing well are in Taiwan, in India and in Sri Lanka where sambar are well protected, in South East Asia large numbers have fallen victim to bushmeat poaching, however good numbers do still survive in some national parks like Khao Yai in Thailand. The decline of these species is bad news for tigers as they are one of the main prey animals for these large cats.

 

Distribution map

 

In Khao Yai sambar are very common around the HQ/tourist areas of the park and have become really quite tame, you see them wondering about by the campsites during the day and significant numbers grazing by the roadsides on night drives. Tigers are thought to have disappeared some years ago from Khao Yai, but there are certainly still dholes (Asian wild dogs) in the park which hunt sambar, the deer have taken to hanging out in the areas around the HQ and the main tourist areas because they know that when there are people around they're safe from dholes. I've no doubt that a little bit goes on but feeding animals of any kind is not permitted so the deer are not fed by tourists, they've just come to realise that the tourists and park rangers pose no danger and that dholes avoid areas where there are people.  I would guess that the sambar and red muntjak around the tourist areas of the park are not poached as deer are elsewhere in khao Yai, so reduced predation and limited poaching has led to an obvious abundance of deer in the areas frequented by tourists. Elsewhere though in the areas of the park that are off limits and especially in areas adjoining local villages there is significant poaching. An ongoing problem in Khao Yai and other Thai parks is poachers coming in to illegally harvest rosewood they camp out in the forest while they are cutting the trees, for food they bring with them supplies of rice and then poach whatever meat they can get from the forest. People are also coming in just purely to poach for meat. Camera trap surveys in Khao Yai revealed that humans were the most common animal captured after wild boar, Smithsonian researchers put out cameras at 217 sites in Khao Yai and despite the fact that 78% of the park is off limits zoned as strict nature reserve/primitive area, humans were captured in photos from 43 of the camera sites. It was also revealed that large predators far from being more common close to ranger posts as might have been expected are in fact rarer and that poachers are even operating close to ranger posts. I suspect that the idea you get from visiting Khao Yai that sambar are very common is something of an illusion and that away from the tourist areas of the park there actually now pretty rare.

 

These photos were all taken in Khao Yai

 

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Hind 

 

34923255993_7e4b580215_o.jpgStag with newly emerging antlers 

 

Whilst birding around some of the tourist bungalows we saw this young stag walking towards one of the bungalows.

 

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I was surprised and amused a few moments later when I saw him go in underneath the building to get out of the heat as it was almost midday.

 

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This hind was wandering around beside the main campsite car park completely oblivious to any of the people there, not the wildest of settings but I like this shot as captures the reality of Khao Yai which is very popular with local tourists. For some reason that as far as I can find out from the web is still unknown sambar at certain times of year have bare patch on their necks known as a sore spot. Both hinds and stags have this feature which can clearly be seen on this animal while something is secreted from this patch indicating that there is a gland there no one seems to know what it's exact function is.

Edited by inyathi
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I guess because I’m often travelling at the same time of year whenever I have seen sambar they have had this sore spot, the following photo taken in Periyar NP in Kerala in India is not the best shot but you can clearly see the sore spot on this hind.

 

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The following photos of deer wading in Periyar Lake were taken on an earlier visit to Periyar NP and are scanned slides, seeing these sambar in the water like this reminds quite a lot of waterbuck in Africa not that you see them in the water that often, but sambar hinds are quite similar in appearance to waterbuck.

 

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Chital

 

The chital, spotted or axis deer Axis axis is entirely confined to the Indian Subcontinent and is found only in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

 

These beautiful deer can be seen quite easily in many of the best known Indian parks/Tiger Reserves and in the main national parks of Sri Lanka.

 

Scanned slides

 

35683674586_e9d94fba26_o.jpg Chital stag in velvet Kahna National Park in Madhya Pradesh India

 

35567438342_7b8e8e5c82_o.jpg Chital hinds Bandavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh India

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Posted (edited)

Hog deer

 

The hog deer Axis porcinus is distributed across the north of the Indian Subcontinent in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh and then in the past as far east as Vietnam, how many may survive in Burma is unknown otherwise only a few small scattered herds still survive in Cambodia. Due to the conversion of its grassland habitat to agriculture and over hunting Hog deer are now extinct in the south of China, in Laos and Vietnam, in Thailand the species is believed to have become extinct in the 1960s but in the 1990s a reintroduced population was established in the Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary in Northern Thailand and there is an introduced population on the island of Ko Chang in the Gulf of Siam.

 

Distribution map

 

In India hog deer certainly occur in Corbett and Dudhwa National Parks and should occur in all of the main parks in the Terai region of Nepal however much the best place to see them is in Kaziranga National Park in Assam in the north east of India where all of the following photos were taken.

 

My visit to Kaziranga in 07 was in February at this time of year the stags were growing their new antlers for the year so there antlers were still in what's known as velvet.  

 

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Hinds 

 

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Fawn still showing some of the spots they're born with

 

Edited by inyathi
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@inyathi Thanks so much for your recent updates.

 

Matt

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@Game Warden Thanks Matt, what I like about researching my recent posts is learning new things myself, I should have known but for some reason didn't until this evening, that there are actually now two species of red muntjac and the scientific name that I knew no longer applies to the one of them that I have definitely seen.

 

There are around thirteen species of muntjac deer all of them native to east Asia, they are very much the Asian equivalent of Africa's duikers and but for having antlers instead of horns are really quite similar in appearance. 

 

Northern red muntjac

 

The northern red muntjac Muntiacus vaginalis is also known as the Indian muntjac or barking deer, until quite recently there was just one species of red muntjac but during a recent taxonomic review of deer species the red muntjac was split into a northern and southern species M. Vaginalis and M. muntjak. The northern species occurs throughout the Indian Subcontinent from eastern Pakistan throughout almost the whole of India and Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the whole of mainland South East Asia up into southern China including Hong Kong and Hainan Island, south to Southern Thailand. 

 

Distribution map 

 

The southern species is primarily a Sunda Island species that occurs from Southern Thailand and the Malay Peninsular southwards and is found on most of the major Sunda Islands, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Bali, it's perhaps no surprise that it is now extinct in Singapore.

 

Distribution map

 

The precise boundary between these two species is not known so with some of the red muntjacs found in southern Thailand it's not entirely clear which species they are, to the best of my knowledge all of the animals I have seen have been of the northern species, I would have to check all of my notes to see I have seen any red muntjac within the range of the southern species. What I do know for certain is that my only photos are of the northern species. 

 

The Northern red muntjac is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern as they are still very common, while it's not always that easy to get a good view you often tend to see them running for cover you can see them in almost any of the Indian parks and in Sri Lanka. My best views though have been in Khao Yai NP in Thailand as with the sambar mentioned earlier they are common around the HQ and tourist areas of the park where they are safe from Dholes and other large carnivores like perhaps leopards and clouded leopards both of which should occur in the park. In Khao Yai unlike elsewhere they're not always just running across the road or disappearing into the bush as like the sambar they have become quite tame.   

 

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Typical view of a red muntjac buck in velvet Kaziranga NP in Assam, India

 

9452936524_a3a7038133_o.jpg Buck in Khao Yai NP in Thailand

 

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Red Muntjac doe in Khao Yai

 

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Thanks so much @inyathi for posting the above "Species accounts" for several kinds of deer.    They are a wealth of information.  

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

 

Thinking about where to go next I thought maybe it was time to head home to the UK as I’ve no posted any of my local wildlife before.

 

In the UK we have 6 species of wild deer but only 2 of these are actually natives, generally speaking in the UK the definition of a native species of either plant or animal is one that colonised the British Isles unassisted after the Ice Age ended and the great ice sheet that covered most of the Northern Hemisphere had retreated. Species that occurred in Britain prior to the Ice Age and were then wiped out but for some reason were not able to make it back here afterwards are not considered native. One species that lived in southern Britain during the Ice Age roaming the Tundra south of the ice sheet was the reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) as the ice melted they moved north with their habitat until they eventually died out due to the almost total disappearance of that habitat and very likely also overhunting. In the 1950s a herd from Sweden was reintroduced to the Cairngorm Mts in Scotland which is the only suitable reindeer habitat left in Britain but these animals are not truly wild and are managed much like domestic reindeer elsewhere. Another species that recolonised after the Ice Age but did not survive here to the present day is the Eurasian Elk (Alces Alces) formerly considered to be the same species as the moose (Alces americanus) in North America but now believed to be separate species. Elk likely became extinct in the UK due to loss of habitat most of Britain was at one time covered in forest now it is one of the least wooded countries in Europe but also because of overhunting. Paul Lister owner of the Alladale Estate in Scotland has attempted to reintroduce elk to his estate flying in a pair from Sweden as part of a rewildling program, although they did give birth to a calf I’m not quite sure what has happened to these animals so at present this species is considered extinct in the UK.

 

The two deer species that did survive to the present day are the western or European red deer and the western or European roe deer, our four introduced species are the fallow deer, sika deer, Reeve’s muntjac and Chinese water deer. I have seen all but the last of these deer species in the wild here in the UK but I don’t have photos of all of them or not that I have found but there are already good shots of red and fallow deer.

 

Although I don’t have photos of all of them and this is after all supposed to be a photo thread, I thought I would still for interest add species accounts for the 4 species that I don’t have photos of, as photos of two of them have already been posted and maybe someone from the UK will post photos of the other two.

 

The western or European red deer

 

In the UK the red deer Cervus elaphus is our largest truly wild terrestrial mammal, they are most common in Scotland especially in the Highlands and Islands in England they are quite patchily distributed being most common in the South West and in East Anglia and in Northern England, a few small populations exist in Wales. As far is known red deer were not originally native to Ireland but were introduced the first animals were brought over from Scotland 5,000 years ago, further introductions from other parts of the UK have occurred many times since. See @phil_b's photos posted earlier.

 

As always the taxonomy of the deer tribe is complicated and exactly where one species ends and another begins is not known for absolute certain, the red deer is a very good example. The red deer Cervus elaphus is very closely related to the wapiti (which means white rump in the Canadian Algonquin languages Shawnee and Cree) this deer Cervus canadensis is more commonly known to most people in North America as the elk (see photos earlier).  At times they have been considered subspecies of a single species or referred to as a superspecies, originally distributed from the UK and Portugal in the far west to the Pacific coast of Russia and then in parts of Canada and the US notably the Rocky Mountains, it is often stated that these deer occurred in Mexico but lack of convincing evidence suggests otherwise. At the moment they are now considered to be two separate species, with the red or western red basically confined to Europe and the wapiti distributed from Central Asia across to North America the latter species then includes Asian deer like the Bukhara deer also known as Bactrian deer, the Kashmir stag and the Kansu deer pictured earlier in the thread, these deer are still sometimes referred to as red deer.  Remarkably the Central Asian Bukhara deer still found in small numbers in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan was recently in 2016 rediscovered in Afghanistan where it was believed to have become extinct.  These Asian deer are often also known by the Turkish name maral but this name really refers to specific subspecies of red deer the Anatolian or Caspian red deer found In Turkey and the Caucasus region, the IUCN Red List entry for European red deer lists C. e. maral as a subspecies but for some reason the distribution map doesn’t show any red deer in Turkey or anywhere in the Caucasus/Caspian region and the map for wapiti doesn’t show these Turkish deer either. The only real information about maral that I have found online is from hunting websites offering people the opportunity to visit Turkey to bag a suitably large maral trophy stag. These hunting websites seem to suggest that these deer are intermediate between European red deer and Asian wapiti, I think all of this really just goes to show that we still don’t really know how exactly to define a species. 

 

While basically confined to Europe the western red deer is in fact the only true deer species to occur in Africa, A race known as the Barbary or Atlas deer Cervus elaphus barbarus occurs in the Maghreb region of North Africa. These deer may once have been found throughout the Maghreb but now they are entirely confined to the Medjerda region either side of the northern Algerian and Tunisian border. The precise origins of these deer isn’t entirely clear, according to Jonathan Kingdon fossils have been found in Morocco and Tunisia dating back to 1million years ago and he suggests that this population of deer has survived since that time. However the Barbary deer closely resembles the Corsican red deer and recent genetic evidence has shown that they are very close relatives, it is known that red deer were originally introduced to Sardinia and Corsica in ancient times so it has been suggested that perhaps deer were taken from North Africa to the islands. However the genetic evidence appears to suggest that it may have been the other way around deer may have been introduced to Sardinia and Corsica from Italy and then taken from these islands to North Africa.  It’s possible then that original deer in North Africa died out but were then reintroduced back in ancient times, further research would need to be conducted to resolve this mystery. More recently Spanish red deer have been introduced to parts of the Moroccan coast and on Corsica red deer became extinct and have been reintoduced from Sardinia.

 

European red deer distribution Map

 

Wapiti distribution map

 

Fallow deer

 

The European fallow deer Dama dama occurred in Britain prior to the Ice Age some 400,000 years ago but were wiped out here and possibly the whole of Europe by the ice leaving the only surviving populations in Turkey, it is possible that some may have survived in Greece or southern Italy and Sicily. However it thought that the only autochthonous population that survives is an endangered population in the Anatolian region of Turkey meaning basically that these are the only European fallow deer living where they have always lived. It is thought that Neolithic people then introduced deer from this area to the Island of Rhodes. The Romans then reintroduced them to much of Europe. Later after the Normans conquered Sicily they introduced fallow deer from there to the British Isles and they have been here ever since.  At least as far as anyone knows that is how they first got here, so they have been in this country for almost 1,000 years. In the days of the British Empire we introduced these deer to many other parts of the world like South Africa, New Zealand and Australia as illustrated by @graynomad's photo earlier. As a result of these introductions as well as the farming of fallow, they are now one of the most common deer species in the world.

 

There are in fact two species of fallow deer the European and the Mesopotamian or Persian fallow and unfortunately the same cannot be said for the latter species.

 

Fallow are differ from most other deer by having palmate antlers meaning that they are flattened out somewhat like the palm of a hand, in the Persian species Dama mesopotamica the antlers either lack this feature entirely or it is far less pronounced. Originally they were considered one species but have for some time now been regarded as two separate species, up until 1940 it was thought that the Persian fallow which formerly roamed throughout much of the Middle/Near East was probably extinct due do habitat loss and overhunting, but then in 1956 two tiny wild populations were discovered in the Khuzestan province of Iran. Some of these deer were captured and taken to a zoo in Germany and some have been moved to other locations in Iran, in the 1970s an Israeli General Avraham Yoffe a committed conservationist who wanted to restore the original biblical wildlife of Israel devised a plan to reintroduce these fallow deer from Iran, the following article recounts the remarkable story of how some of these deer brought from Iran to Israel.

 

 The Dramatic Tale of the Persian Fallow Deer

 

Following the successful establishment of a captive population of Persian fallow in Israel founded with the deer brought from Iran and some from Germany at least three wild herds have now been established. Having come from a very small founder population these deer must be highly inbred, whether this will prove to be a big problem is not yet clear, but obviously the current relationship between Israel and Iran means that there is no hope of bringing fresh blood from the Iranian population to Israel.

 

Photos of Persian fallow deer on ARKive

 

The precise history and origins of Europe’s fallow deer still remains something of a mystery this interesting science article sheds some light on the matter.

 

Phylogeography of the last surviving populations of Rhodian and Anatolian fallow deer

 

European fallow deer map

 

The following map shows just how endangered the Persian species is, there are just two tiny orange dots in Khuzestan indicating the extant populations, you’ll need to zoom in and scroll around Iran and Israel to find the reintroduced herds.

 

Sika deer

 

The sika Cervus Nippon is a native of the Far East found in the Russian Far East and China where a few small scattered populations survive and formerly in the Korean Peninsula and Vietnam where it may now be extinct. The largest surviving and most secure population is in Japan where they occur on all of the main islands and some of the smaller ones. Deer of various sika races have been kept in captivity in the UK in zoos and private collections in 1860 some deer of the Japanese race escaped and became established in the wild, there is now a well established and growing population all of which are thought to be of Japanese origin. The introduction of this species is of some concern to conservationists because they readily hybridise with red deer and it’s now uncertain whether there any truly pure red deer left anywhere on the mainland or whether the only pure animals are found on some of the Hebridean Islands.

 

Here are some photos of sika on ARKive

 

Distribution map

 

Chinese water deer

 

The Chinese water deer Hydropotes inermis is an unusual deer species in that the bucks are not armed with antlers but instead have long canine teeth or tusks, this species is listed as vulnerable there are two races Chinese and Korean the Chinese race is now confined to an area of the lower Yangtze Basin around Shanghai where the population is declining, the Korean race is restricted to the west coast of the Korean Peninsula it is apparently still quite widespread in South Korea  but exactly how it is faring in North Korea is not known for sure. At the end of the 19th century water deer from China were brought to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire where they were bred successfully, deer from there were then sent to other collections and at some point some animals escaped allowing the species to become established in the wild. Being as their name suggests mainly a wetland species they are predominantly found in and around the Fens the area of low-lying marshland in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk In the east of England. Their population is growing but relative slowly, at least they have not spread far but before long the number in the UK could exceed the population in China. So far they are not known to pose a threat to any native species nor have they become an agricultural pest, so the UK population which is thought to be now about 10% of the world population is increasingly regarded as an important backup population given that they are still declining in China. However as they are an alien species to prevent their spread to other parts of the UK it is a criminal offence to release water deer into the wild. This is the one deer species in the UK that I have not seen having never tried to go and look for them, but I’m sure if you visit some of the Fenland nature reserves where they occur at the right time of day they shouldn’t be too hard to see, although I think they're quite crepuscular.

 

Here are some photos of this virtual sabre-tooth of the deer world on ARKive

 

Distribution map

 

European roe deer

 

There are two species of roe deer the western or European roe Capreolus capreolus and the slightly larger eastern or Siberian roe Capreolus pygargus formerly they were considered subspecies of a single species.  The European is found pretty much throughout the whole of Europe and in the north of Turkey as far as the western shore of the Caspian Sea, these deer also occurred in parts of the Middle East but hunting and habitat loss lead to their extinction, attempts to reintroduce roe to Israel have not so far had much success, The Siberian roe is distributed from the far east of Europe across the north of Central Asia and southern Russia into Mongolia, China, Tibet and across to the Pacific Coast and the Korean Peninsula. The German name for the roe deer is reh and a species of African antelope endemic to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland was named the rhebok because of its resemblance to the roe deer and was given the scientific name Pelea capreolus. The actual name capreolus means little goat because as deer go they are a little bit goat like.

 

Roe deer are absent from Ireland, but they successfully recolonised mainland Britain after the Ice Age and may be now our most common deer species.  It might therefore come as something of a surprise to many people in the UK, at least those who regularly see these deer, that the roe deer had not in fact not that long ago become extinct in England and Wales and was entirely confined to Scotland, as a result of over hunting and habitat loss. Reintroductions carried out in Victorian times coupled with an increase in tree cover led to the roe deer making a remarkable recovery and they are now abundant once more and found almost everywhere.  As far as is known roe deer are not native to Ireland and are entirely absent from the whole island,  they were introduced but the only successful population was established on the Lissadell Estate in County Sligo in 1870 and after about 50 years these animals were hunted to extinction to protect newly planted trees  in order to establish a forestry industry. As far as is known there are none anywhere in Ireland today.

 

European roe deer distribution map

 

Siberian roe deer distribution map

 

35362382812_180aed6e38_o.jpgEuropean roe buck, England

 

More to follow roe photos to follow

Edited by inyathi
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Posted (edited)

Roe deer in common with most prey animals have very acute senses, their hearing, eyesight and sense of smell are all excellent, the adults may have lost all of their natural predators but they haven’t lost any of their wariness. The approach of many wildlife photographers going out after deer is to dress up in head to toe camouflage like an SAS trooper heading off on a stakeout, I haven’t tried this as besides a camouflage poncho I don’t have any camouflage clothing. Instead I just wear drab clothes much as I would on safari and rely on a very basic knowledge of field craft, this is probably why I’ve got quite a lot of shots of deer running away.

 

All of my photos (in this thread) are taken using a Canon 100-400 mm lens

 

Does and bucks in flight. 

 

34913923523_b279230304_o.jpgLeaping roe buck by inyathi, on Flickr

 

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I would always prefer not to disturb the deer too much so I don't set out to get shots of running deer, however so often when they do run I end up with a load of out of focus shots because they're moving too fast for the auto focus, it's therefore nice to get some reasonable shots. Although the last one is perhaps just slightly too blurred but not in a good way like in the second shot.

Edited by inyathi
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@inyathi

 

Great info on UK deer species.  We often see Roe deer close to home (sometimes in the fields opposite us) and while out walking.  We also see Red deer in certain parts of the Lake District but usually at long distance so no great photos.  However, I will attach a few that I have managed.

 

The first is a Roe (I think) that we came across in the woods near Thirlmere.

 

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These are of a 'black' fallow herd in the Levens deer park.  The park covers a large area so it is hard to get close and they unfortunately always seem to be on the outer fence line whenever I am there with a camera!!

 

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@inyathi

Excellent detail from you - a source of learning for me. Thank you.

Here are a couple of pictures of a Muntjac taken in Birmingham - they make there way along a small river. (We have also seen them in a couple of bird reserves near Birmingham). When you talk about the "split" in Muntjac, does that involve the species found in the UK? (Muntiacus reevesi  in my book)

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@Zim Girl Thanks, interesting having had white fallow earlier to now have some black ones this is a sign of how these deer when they are kept in deer parks as they have been for a very long time have become semi-domesticated and deer managers have taken the occasional naturally occurring white or black animals and used them to create whole herds like this.

 

@TonyQ It’s just the red muntjac that I know of that has been split, our Reeve’s muntjac seen in your shots is still just a single species I will post my own shots and some info later and a video if I can find it.

 

Approaching roe deer in the open unseen is almost impossible and approaching them unheard in woodland likewise, however the deer themselves are not completely silent when they are moving through the woods, so if you step on a dead stick it doesn’t really matter, you just have to stay still for a while before moving on. As long as you aren’t continuously treading on sticks you may with luck be able to get reasonably close, if you move very slowly and the wind is in the right direction.  You could of course also use a hide but then you are tied to one spot and completely reliant on the deer coming to where you want them to. If you can be absolutely certain that deer will come to the area in front of your hide then you’d probably get great shots but you’d have to set up well in advance and probably have to wait some time, this is only really practical for photographing deer in the evening, in the morning you'd really have to be set up before dawn to avoid disturbing them so it's really better just  to try stalking them in the morning. You could also try a hunter's trick and call the deer in using a device that mimics the mating calls of female roe, that way you could be sure of getting bucks to come really close to your hide or chosen hiding place. I’ve not tried this but I’m tempted to give it a go, there’s a device called a Buttolo Rhe Blatter it’s basically made of plastic and rubber and a little like a pet’s squeaky toy, when you squeeze it the right way it will create all of the main roe calls, except for their alarm bark, a hunter would quite likely use a high seat to shoot from but that wouldn’t be great for photography. So to get any photos once you’ve attracted your buck you’d need to be very well hidden, a stalker only needs to get the one shot, but as photographer I’d want to try and get more than just one photo. You would of course need to use it sparingly and I would guess it takes some practice to get the calls just right.  

 

In the summer months when most of my photos of roe have been taken these deer have very red brown coats, in the winter months they are much more grey brown. Right now in July is a good time of year to photograph them the extra day length gives one a lot more time to be out and about looking for deer and from around mid July to mid August is their rutting season. At this time the bucks are often chasing after the does and are therefore rather more distracted than at other times of year allowing you a chance to get a bit closer than you might otherwise.

 

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Sometimes if I’m lucky I do succeed in getting nice and close.

 

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