Fallow deer

Fallow deer
It is one of the three species of the Deer family that are found in Bulgaria - red deer, fallow deer and roe deer. The male fallow deer is known as a buck, the female is a doe, and the young a fawn.The first evidence of the presence of fallow deer in our lands dates back to ancient times. They are depicted on several Thracian treasures such as in Panagyurishte and Lukovit. The fallow deer was widespread in the past, but was later exterminated for its meat and antlers. It was reintroduced at the beginning of the last century - in 1904.
In Bulgaria it owes its name to its antlers, which are characteristic of males and have an impressive shape - extended at the end in the shape of a shovel. They range from 50 to 70 centimeters.

Its first antlers grow when it is one year old fawn, but they are single spike. Only at the age of 3 do the little fawns get antlers with the characteristic spade-like extension. The "shovels" grow with age and reach their maximum size by the age of 10 of the buck. The fallow deer is smaller, stockier and has shorter legs than the red deer. Its color is reddish-brown in summer with beautiful light spots and dark gray-brown - in winter. There are and not uncommon completely white and black. Currently in Bulgaria there are about 6500 specimens in several hunting farms, the most numerous are in the Eastern Rhodopes.

Protected status

The fallow deer is a hunting species included in the Law for Hunting and Game Protection in Bulgaria.

Biology

Biology
Nutrition
The fallow deer prefers grass species more than all the other deer species. But overall it is not too demanding to its food - its menu includes grass, leaves of trees and shrubs, various mushrooms and even berries.

Reproduction
The breeding season or rut for the fallow deer begins a month later than the one for the red deer - in October. Fallow deer is different from red deer also by the place it chooses for breeding - it prefers large, open areas or a well-kept old forest. Males, called bucks, often arrive from considerable distances at the breeding place and leave it immediately after the "wedding". When choosing these places, the most important conditions are peace and security.
The wedding roar of a fallow deer is rather hoarse, short and fragmentary, unlike that of the red deer, but it has the same function - it attracts females and warns rivals about the strength and position in the herd of bucks. Thus, the older bucks quickly discourage their younger opponents, and the females, called does, choose the representatives with a more powerful and deep voice. The harem of the fallow deer has between 4 and 15 does. Once he has won his harem, the male jealously defends it from rivals. When the roars do not rebuff and do not impress the opponent, a battle for leadership begins. The bucks intertwine their antlers and push until the weaker one gives up. The battle can last all day. During this time, the males do not feed, but do not harden, as does the red deer. After the rut, they leave the herd and begin to actively feed to regain lost weight and energy. The females separate from the herd for a while until they give birth, but then rejoin it. Does give birth to 1-2 fawns, which they take care of until they are old enough to be independent - most often on the following year. The little fawns have spotted fur, which protects them from enemies, making them difficult to see in the greenery. Their mothers breastfeed and protect them from predators with the sharp tips of their hooves. When they grows up, if the fawn is a female, it stays with his mother in the female herd, and if it is a male, it joins the males.
 
Seasonal and day-and-night activity. Migrations
The fallow deer grazes both during the day and at night. It is most active at dusk and dawn. Most of its time is spent for moving, eating and resting. The fallow deer is strongly attached to its habitats, so it leaves them and migrates only in the absence of food and water, as well as during their breeding season. It chooses a special place called a "wedding venue," but as soon as the wedding is over, the bucks leave it.

Habitats

Habitats
The fallow deer usually inhabits flat deciduous and mixed forests. Prefers places with warm and humid climates, such as the coast. It develops best there. In winter, avoid areas with thick snow.

Threats and limiting factors

Threats and limiting factors
Predators
The wolf, the fox, the jackal and the stray dogs are the natural enemies of the fallow deer and they significantly harm it. Because the fallow deer is slower than the red deer, it becomes easy prey for wolves or stray dogs, especially in deeper snow. The fox and the jackal attack the young. However, it is not predators that are the main threat to them, but poaching.

Poaching
The main threat to fallow deer is poaching. The fallow deer disappeared from the Bulgarian lands about ten centuries ago due to its uncontrolled extermination by man. He is persecuted for his beautiful antlers, which turn into hunting trophies and his meat. As well as being slower, it is more credulous than the red deer, which also makes it vulnerable to poachers.



This subpage has been produced withing the project "BIO-INNOVATE". The Project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and by national funds of the countries participating in INTERREG V-A “Greece-Bulgaria 2014-2020″ Cooperation Programme. The contents of the page are the sole responsibility of Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the participating countries, the Managing Autority and the Joint Secretatiat.