Cervus elaphus ssp
Ciervo (Sp), Rothirsch (G), Cerf elaphe, Cerf rouge (F).
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 45-56 inches (114-142 cm). Weight about 300-350 pounds (136-159 kg), sometimes considerably more. Females are much smaller.A large, handsome deer. The summer coat is a shiny reddish-brown, becoming duller, grayer and shaggier in winter. The underparts are dark brown to black. There is a large, straw-colored rump patch. A dark dorsal stripe is visible in summer but becomes indistinct in winter. Stags develop a neck mane during the rut. Like wapiti and sika, red deer grow upper canine teeth; they are smooth, round, comparatively large, and set alone on either side of the mouth. A good set of red deer antlers will have six points on each side for a total of 12. The first two tines (brow and bez) are close together and point forward; they are well separated from the third (trez) tine, which grows upward and outward. The other tines are in a group near the beam tip, often clustered in the form of a crown or cup.The longest antlers recorded in New Zealand were taken in South Westland (South Island) in 1949, and measured 50-1/2 inches (128.3 cm). The greatest number of points was 40, from a stag taken at Te Anau (South Island) in 1973. Australian heads are not as large as those from New Zealand. While heads with as many as 20 points have been shot in Australia, such trophies are very unusual.
BEHAVIOR Highly gregarious, living in small herds (or mobs) of females, juveniles and young males, each herd occupying its own area. Older stags are solitary or in small bachelor groups, except during the rut when they battle each other for harems of females (hinds). Stags "roar" during the rut, emitting cowlike bellows that end in a series of grunts. Hinds will bark sharply when alarmed. Red deer in Australia rut in April, with the young born at year end. In New Zealand, the rut takes place from late March to the end of April, with young born from late November to the end of January.Red deer are both grazers and browsers, feeding early and late, becoming nocturnal when persecuted. Alert and wary. Eyesight, hearing and sense of smell are good. Not an especially swift runner, but able to maintain good speed for a long distance. A good swimmer.
HABITAT Forests, heavy bush and sheltered basins.
DISTRIBUTION New Zealand: Established in the wild throughout the high country and forests of both the North and South islands. Also on Stewart Island, Secretary and Resolution islands, and D'Urville Island. Enclosed herds are found on many private properties on both the main islands. Australia: Free-ranging in southeastern Queensland and Victoria, extending into extreme southern New South Wales. Enclosed red deer are found on some private properties.
REMARKS Red deer are native to Europe and western Asia. Those liberated in Australia and New Zealand were obtained in England and Scotland, with verification of subspecies not possible.The first red deer-a stag and hind-arrived in New Zealand in 1851, and were released in the Matai Valley on South Island. Introductions were made on North Island in 1862 and on Stewart Island about 1900. By 1926, when liberations ended, more than 220 transplants had been attempted. Red deer first reached Australia in 1860 when six arrived in Melbourne from Windsor, England, having been presented by Prince Albert. Offspring of these animals were shipped to other parts of Australia, and to New Zealand as well. Many other shipments arrived from England during the last half of the 19th century.Red deer have interbred extensively with wapiti in Fiordland on the South Island of New Zealand. In accordance with our established policy, such hybrids are treated as Red deer in the Record Book, because Red deer have the larger antlers. Red deer taken on the South Island, where there is any possibility of having interbred with wapiti, are to have the skull length noted for identification purposes. Skulls are to be measured by the Douglas system, which is over the curves from the farthest point in back to the farthest point in front. Skulls of trophy red stags will normally range from 16-3/4 to 17-1/2 inches (42.5 to 44.5 cm), and will very rarely exceed 18-1/4 inches (46.4 cm). Wapiti skulls will usually measure 20-21 inches (50.8 to 53.3 cm). The neck hair of a red deer is coarse, that of a wapiti is fur-like in texture. A red deer's upper canine teeth are much smaller than those of wapiti.