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Red Deer

Reds are the largest deer in the UK.

A stag has no antlers in its first year and only a straight stem in its second year. Each year adds a successive branch. The first is known as a brow point, the second is the bay (bez) point and the third is the tray (trez) point. After that they develop the three points at the top. In theory, then, if you count the points and add one, you have the age of the stag.

Antler growth is related to the stags testosterone levels. There is no testosterone present when the antlers are growing. When they stop growing and the protective velvet is rubbed off, the hormone levels rise and the rutting season begins, usually between October and November.

The females (hinds) usually have their calves in June and July. They separate from the herd to give birth and will leave their baby hidden for the first week until it is strong enough to keep up, returning just to feed it. It is important to remember that a fawn alone is not a fawn abandoned. Human scent on a fawn will cause a mother to abandon it.

Babies are born with spots to help them blend into the undergrowth, but these fade as they get older.

Exmoor Red Deer grow no bay point on one antler. This is unique to Exmoor Reds and no-one knows why?

To stalkers, a year old male is called a Brocket, a 2 year old is called a Spire and a 3 year old is called a Staggart. Only at 4 years old do they refer to it as a true stag.

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