Cervus elaphus ssp.
Venado (Sp), Rothirsch (G), Cerf rouge, Cerf elaphe (F).
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height about four feet (1.2 m). Weight 300-575 pounds (135-260 kg). Females are considerably smaller.
A large, stately deer, reddish-brown in summer, turning darker and grayer in winter. There is a faint dorsal stripe and a pale, yellowish rump patch that encloses the short, beige tail. The coat is coarse, and males grow a long, dense neck mane. In mature stags the antlers are large and heavy, with at least five points to a side, including the tip of the main beam. Typically, the first (brow) and second (bez) tines grow close together and are well separated from the third (trez) tine. The other tines are usually in a group near the beam tip, commonly forming a crown. Some outstanding antlers may have as many as 20 points in total, or even more. In red deer, the upper canine teeth develop as tusks, as in wapiti and sika deer.
DISTRIBUTION Private properties in Texas and several other states.
REMARKS Red deer are native to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. First introduced on the Bear Creek Ranch, Kerr County, Texas, in the early 1930s. By 1979, the Texas population was about 1,000 animals, mostly in the Hill Country and much of it on unfenced land. Has also been introduced in the Bernheim Forest and Woodlands National Wildlife Refuge in Kentucky, and on the Hearst Ranch in San Luis Obispo County, California. Some escapees from the Hearst Ranch may be free-ranging nearby.
HYBRIDIZATION Red deer x wapiti hybrids are found on many properties, as they interbreed freely (being of the same species) and produce fertile offspring. Following our established policy, such hybrids are recorded as wapiti, as it is the larger animal with the larger antlers. Red deer will also interbreed with sika deer, in which case the hybrids are recorded as red deer, as it is larger.