The antlered red deer is an awesome sight. The stag uses his antlers as a weapon when fighting other males for access to females during the mating season each fall. In summer, the  coats of these attractive and impressive animals are a bright chestnut brown. In the fall, the deer grow waterproof guard hairs, which turn the coats much darker. Wild herds are found in forests and parkland throughout their range.

Habitat: Forest are the red deer's natural habitat. Where the forest has been cleared, the deer move onto open land. Even where forests have been replanted, deer rarely return because the dense regrowth of the conifers makes it difficult for them to feed.  Some deer live on open land year round; others retreat to wooded glens in the worse winter weather.

Food and Feeding: Red deer are primarily grazing animals, They feed on grass by cuttings it between their sharp lower incisor teeth and their hard upper gums. They also have strong teeth in their cheeks that enable them to eat twigs in the winter when grass is scarce.

Breeding: the autumn mating season, called the rut, is the time when the dominant stags challenge and fights one another for access to the females. several of the successful stags corner a group of thirty to forty females, called hinds, and will mate with each sexually mature member as she comes into season. Mature stag bellowing a warning to another, If this threat is ignored, the stags will fight.

Younger stages are excluded from breeding by the older, more aggressive males. At the end of the rut, when the stags are exhausted, the younger stags may mate with any hinds which are late coming into season. The stags leave the females when the rut is over, forming bachelor herds for the rest of the year. The larger animals are still dominant, chasing away rivals from from the best feeding places. The calves are born after a gestation period of 8 1/2 months. They are able to stand steadily at 20 minutes old, and are able to talk milk 10 minutes later. A calf will stay with its mother until she gives birth again. At this time she drives it away so that it will not compete with the new calf. A calf suckles from its mother. The calf's is speckled until after its first molt the following May.

Red Deer and Man: Deer hunting is a popular, though controversial, sport. But the number of deer must be controlled each year, to prevent the herds from exhausting their food supply. Hunting, therefore, is seen as a necessary population control. Some species of deer are bred like cattle, but red deer are not suitable to be raised on ranches, since they are dangerous, since they are dangerous during the nut.

Nature Watch: Red deer are easiest to spot in summer* in wooded country during the early hours of the morning.  Deer watchers must be stealthy since, like most herbivores (plant eaters), deer are vary wary and alert and will quickly detect unfamiliar movements, sounds or scents.  Deer can rarely be spotted on open land.

Sizes
Height: Males 4 - 5 ft Females a little smaller.
Length: 5 -9 ft
Weight: 220 - 265 lb
Antlers: 35 -39 in fully grown.

Breeding
Sexual maturity: Females 2 - 4 years. Males breed at 5 - 6 years.
Mating: Early fall.
Gestations: Average 235 days
No. of young: 1 (twigs are rare).

Lifestyle:
Habit: Sociable, males from seperate herds during non breeding season.
Diet: Grass, heather, twigs, leaves and fruit.
Life span: 17 - 20  years

Related Species: There are 23 subspecies of deer, of which 6 are endangered.
Distribution: Red deer are found in southern Scandinavia, most of western Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor. They have also been introduced to Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.
Conservation: Common and increasing. Culling is carefully controlled in many places and red deer are protected both as game and as ornamental animals.

The Red Deer's Antlers:
Antlers begin as knobs covered in soft thin skin called valvet.
Stages over 2 years old grow branching antlers called Prickets.
New antlers take about 100 days to grow and are shed in April
The velvet dies in July and the stag will rub it off and eat it.
It takes a few days for the velvetr to disappear and for the antlers to become clean. An adult stag can have many branches on his antlers.

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