It’s September in our deer park here at Millbank Parkland Venison and the red stags have all shed their velvet. The Sika Stag has been a bit slower this year, often up to six weeks behind. You can see from the video that this summer our Sika Stag seems to have had an incident and broken one of his magnificent antlers.
Now we are in September, the Sika Stag is producing more testosterone, causing him to shed the velvet from his antlers and leave him in top fighting form and a fighting mood for the oncoming rut. Our magnificent Sika is usually quite an alpha male, but this year he’s become a bit fat and lazy – another victim of lockdown overeating due to feasting on copious amounts of rich Dumfriesshire grassland.
Native Scottish Deer
Roe and Red deer are both native to Scotland – Sika and Fallow are not. Sika deer is definitely the hardier breed, originating from the colder, harsher winters of Russia, and are more gregarious than the Fallow deer which can be shy and timid. As a result of their different personalities, Sika stag will generally win any tussle with a Fallow Buck, who tend to run and hide rather than confront the Sika head on.
Did you know…
Deer antler is the fastest growing mammalian tissue. As opposed to horn tissue which is made of keratin, antler tissue is bone. The deer cast their antlers in the spring – usually between April and May – then spend their summer growing a larger, more spectacular set of antlers than the year before.
Sika antlers and Fallow antlers differ, and the differences are easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for.
- Sika stags have stout, upright antlers with an extra buttress up from the brow tine and a very thick wall. They generally have three or four points, though some with more dominant roles in the group can have more.
- Fallow deer antlers tend to palmated, having a shape similar to that of a hand with the fingers extended.
We’ll keep you posted for news of the Sika Stag rutting season success!