What deer - how to identify deer in UK

Contributions are being welcomed to the British Deer Society survey which started on February 7.

It runs to June 30 and looks at the distribution of our six deer species across the UK.

For the first time, the distribution of wild boar will also be mapped.

To take part, visit bds.org.uk.

Out of the six species that live in the UK only red deer and roe deer are indigenous.

This brief guide may help if you’re not entirely sure which species you’ve seen.

Red Deer

The red deer is the largest land mammal in the UK. Stags stand 107-137cm at the shoulder and weigh 90-190kg while hinds reach a height of 107-122cm at the shoulder and weigh 63-120kg.

Stags have large, highly branched antlers that can have up to 16 points. The angle between the brow tine and the main beam is near to 90 degrees which is what distinguishes red deer from the sika.

Roe Deer

Does grow to around 60 - 75cm at the shoulder and weigh 10 - 25kg and bucks are slightly larger. They are native to the UK but overhunting lead to them becoming extinct in England by 1800. They remained in Scottish woods and with reintroductions and natural spread are abundant once more.

Reeves’ Muntjac

A small species, the bucks grow to 44 - 52cm at the shoulder and weigh 10 - 18kg while does are 43 - 52cm at the shoulder and weigh 9 - 16kg. Unlike every other species in the UK, muntjac do not have a defined breeding season (rut) but instead breed all year round.

Fallow Deer

Bucks grow to between 84 – 94cm at the shoulder and weigh 46 - 94kg while does are 73 - 91cm at the shoulder and weigh 35 - 56kg. The common variety has fawn colouring with white spotting on the flanks and white rump patch outlined with a characteristic black horseshoe. It is the only British deer with palmate antlers (broad bladed).

Sika Deer

Sika are similar in size and coat to fallow deer, but darker. Antlers are branched with a maximum of eight points but the angle between the brow tine and the main beam is usually less than 90 degrees, unlike the red deer.

Chinese Water Deer

This small species grows to 50 – 55cm high at the shoulder and weighs between 11-18kg. Bucks have large protruding tusks and no antlers. They are solitary except when mating.