Common name – Fallow Deer
Latin name – Dama dama
This medium sized deer was brought to England in sustainable numbers by the Normans, although the Romans had also imported them well before that. They have long been associated with Parks for hunting and they remain an ornamental feature of many country estates. The Fallow’s palmate antlers are unique in the UK whilst a wide range of coat colours – from black, light and dark spotted and sandy white – add interest.
Over the centuries Fallow deer have escaped from formal park settings, not least as wars and economic crises led to the decline of many country estates. They are now widely distributed throughout the UK but especially in England.
Fallow deer are pretty adaptable, sometimes living in single sex or mixed groups. In agricultural areas they often form large temporary herds, thus presenting a notable threat to farmers’ crops. However, Fallow are also found in a wide variety of woodland habitats. As grazers, rather than browsers, they do damage young trees and woody plants.
Culling of Fallow deer is essential to control both numbers and habitat damage. This is more effective when there is a good degree of collaboration amongst landowners in a particular area. Carefully targeted culling also helps to improve species quality.
Mating takes place in October or November with single young (fawns) being born in June or July, some eight months later. Mating arrangements depend partly on habitat. Some bucks accompany and defend their harems of does, whilst others cluster in small areas, known as ‘leks’ or ‘stands’, to attract does following ritualised displays.
|Fallow||England & Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland|
|Bucks||Aug 1st - Apr 30th||Aug 1st - Apr 30th||Aug 1st - Apr 30th|
|Does||Nov 1st - Mar 31st||Oct 21st - Mar 31st||Nov 1st - Mar 31st|
To achieve a bronze medal a fallow trophy should have an antler length of about 60 cm. Brow tines of about 16 cm. A palmation length of about 30 cm, with the width of palmation being about 14 cm. Circumference of coronets about 20 cm. And lower beam measurements of about 12cm. A dry (90 days after being prepared) net weight of around 3 kg. However deficiencies in one area may be counteracted by increases in others, thus still ensuring that a medal category is reached.
Links to DSUK articles –