Fun Deer Facts

Deer are amazing animals – here are a few deer facts – we bet you don’t know all of them!

  • Red deer are the biggest indigenous land mammals remaining wild in the UK, after other bigger mammals became extinct.
  • There are many different species of deer, indigenous species of which can be found in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
  • There are 6 species of wild deer in the UK. Red Deer, Roe Deer, Fallow Deer, Reeves’ Muntjac, Chinese Water Deer and Sika deer. The Red deer (Cervus elaphus) and the European Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) are the only indigenous species.
  • Deer (singular and plural) are ruminant mammals belonging to the family Cervidae.
  • Deer are famous for their antlers, but it is only the males that have them. They start growing a new set every spring at a rate of up to 2.5cm per day, before shedding them in the winter.
  • Antlers are used by males in the mating season, or rut as it’s called, to fend off competing males.
  • Different species have different names for males and females. Red Deer are called Stag and Hind, whereas Roe deer are Buck and Doe. A group of deer is called a herd.
  • An average adult Exmoor stag weighs 135kg and a hind seldom over 90kg. Adult males stand at around 115cm at the shoulder and are the largest wild land mammal in England.
  • In the Harry Potter series, a Stag and a Doe appeared as the Patronus’ of Harry’s parents James and Lily, as well as Harry himself. And Professor Snape of course. Always.
  • A black stag is the sigil of the House Baratheon on fictional TV series Game of Thrones.


Why we need to protect deer


Deer hunting

Red and Roe deer are one of the animals that staghunts and buckhunts in the UK like to chase and kill with hounds for ‘sport’. The Deer, or stag, hunting of deer with dogs is banned under the Hunting Act 2004 but there are still three stag hunts in the West of England which regularly chase and kill these wonderful animals, by abusing some of the exemptions of the ban. In the UK, deer stalking, which is shooting deer with rifles, is still allowed.

Staghunting involves riders on horseback, hunt supporters on vehicles and a pack of hounds which will find and chase the deer until a member of the hunt shoots it dead. Research has shown that on average the chase can last for three hours and cover 18km. This will exhaust the deer and cause it a huge amount of fear and stress.


Snares

Deer are also one of the animals that can be caught in snares. These are wire nooses that are commonly placed around shooting estates – places where birds like pheasants, partridges and grouse are shot for sport. The snares are intended to catch foxes to stop them from killing the birds (before the birds are shot), but snares catch huge numbers of animals other than foxes, including deer. The League is calling for a ban on snares to better help us protect deer.

Stag and a group of deer in Baronsdown animal sanctuary | League Against Cruel Sports


What is the League doing to protect deer?

  • The first succesful prosecution under the Hunting Act 2004 of an illegal staghunter was a private prosecution taken by the League Against Cruiel Sports in 2007.
  • We investigate allegations of illegal stag hunting.
  • The League Against Cruel Sports has wildlife sanctuaries in the middle of the stag hunting areas, and we are often able to protect deer as they escape onto our land.
  • To truly protect deer we are campaigning to strengthen the Hunting Act by removing the 'reseach and observation' exemption to stop hunts from continuing to chase and kill them under false pretenses. 
  • We are calling for a ban on the use of snares across the UK, and are working with political partners in all the devolved nations to educate them as to the dangers of these devices.


How can I help deer?

  • Contact your MP and ask them to urge their party to keep and strengthen the deer (stag) hunting ban
  • Join one of our supporter groups to help us raise awareness about deer hunting
  • Share this page on your social media


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