Fallow deer are impressive animals on many levels. They have keen senses of smell, hearing, and sight. They are able to communicate with each other through body language, sounds, and smells. One of their most prominent characteristics is their antlers which can measure up to 70 centimeters in height, making them extremely popular for trophy hunts. Understanding Fallow Deer mating behavior can help you in your quest to hunt these majestic animals.
In the 11th century, the Normans introduced fallow deer to the Britains. Today they can be found in Britain and Wales as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the United States, there is a good population in the Texas area which is why hunters tend to flock there when they want to target fallow deer.
Fallow deer are seasonal breeders with their breeding season running from September to January. During this time, which is also referred to as the rut, males will mark their territory and paw the ground. They may urinate in these areas as well as make low-pitched groans and grunts. These grunts, also known as their mating calls, can amount to more than 3,000 an hour during the peak of mating season. A fun fact about these calls is that they contain a large amount of information that the human ear cannot understand. But, to other fallow deer, just one call can reveal their status within the herd as well as their size.
Besides grunting loudly and repeatedly, the male fallow deer will also fight violently with their antlers during fallow deer mating season. Very rarely are there serious injuries due to this behavior. It is just one example of fallow deer mating behavior and their way of showing their strength and virility.
The sound of their grunts can also tell if their mating season has been successful. When the groans sound fatigued it can be a sure sign that the buck is worn out. During mating season, male deer will stop feeding and may even lose over a quarter of their total body weight as they stress over looking for a mate.
Those grunts will eventually draw females to the area the males have marked during their mating season. The females will stay there until they are in heat and mating occurs. Females will usually conceive for the first time around the time they are 16 months old. The highest point of fertilization is in October. Once they are done mating, the male deer will leave the area and return to the group of males they were in before breeding season. He will only return to the area, or find a new breeding ground, when mating season rolls around again next year.
Once a female deer gets pregnant, the gestation period usually lasts 33 to 35 weeks with many females giving birth in June. Before a female is ready to give birth she will usually seek out a secret hiding place to do so. Female deer rarely give birth in front of other animals, not even the fathers since they have already run off to re-join their herd. A female deer will typically give birth to one offspring at a time.
After giving birth, the mother will not immediately rejoin her herd. Rather she will hide the fawn in the bushes and return to nurse it regularly. Mothers will bond with their fawns immediately after birth by licking their young clean. Weaning will start around 20 days old but may not completely finish until the fawn is seven months old. In some cases that may be earlier and can happen in the fall. It all depends on the calf. After about 3 to 4 weeks, the mother and fawn will rejoin the herd. The fawn will become independent after one year. The lifespan for bucks is usually 8 to 10 years, but some live as long as 16 years.
If you are interested in learning more about fallow deer and hunting techniques, call Squaw Mountain Ranch. There are no seasonal restrictions on hunting fallow deer so it is a year-round activity.