Common name – Sika Deer
Latin name – Cervus nippon
Sika deer were mid-19th century imports from the Far East into some UK estates. The majority came from Japan and a combination of releases into the wild and park escapees have resulted in growing feral Sika populations.
Distribution is spreading and they are now widespread in Scotland. Whilst numbers are lower in England, Sika are found particularly in Lancashire and Yorkshire, together with Dorset and the New Forest. They are also well established in Northern Ireland. Their preferred habitat is heathland thickets and woodland, especially if they are able to graze on nearby arable crops.
Sika tend to be more solitary than other species, occupy particular ranges but may come together in small groups during winter months. Though not nocturnal, they are most active during the hours of darkness.
Damage to crops and woodland can be a concern, albeit that Sika stalking can provide a useful income for landowners. A further, increasing concern to many is inter-breeding between Sika and Reds. Taken together, the above considerations mean that cross boundary management is the most effective way of controlling this species.
The rut amongst Sika deer can correspond closely to that of Fallow, with Sika stags either defending a rutting territory and gathering a harem or setting off in search of receptive hinds.
Mating occurs from the end of September through November with single calves being born some 7.5 months later in May to late June.
|Sika||England & Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland|
|Stags||Aug 1st - Apr 30th||Jul 1st - Oct 20th||Aug 1st - Apr 30th|
|Hinds||Nov 1st - Mar 31st||Oct 21st - Feb 15th||Nov 1st - Mar 31st|
To achieve a bronze medal a Japanese Sika should be a fairly even eight pointer with a span of about 40 cm, beams of about 50 cm, brown tines of about 13 cm, seconds tines of about 14 cm, and inner tines of about 6 cm. The circumference of the lower beams should be about 9 cm and the upper about 6.5 cm. However the deficiencies in one area may be counteracted by increases in others, thus still ensuring that a medal category is reached.
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