Fallow Deer (Dama dama)

Posted by Greg Traynor - December 31, 2011 - Wild Game of the Month - No Comments

Fallow Deer in English, Daim in French, or Damhirsch in German are native to modern day Turkey and the Middle East where the rare Persian Fallow Deer (Dama mesopotamica) continue to live today.

Although Dama dama was introduced to Europe by the Romans as early as 100 A.D., the original native subspecies, Dama mesopotamica, are endangered in their native range. Specimens vary in size, shape, and several colors of white, black, chocolate brown, and light brown with spots being the norm.

Figure 1"Photo" A Fallow deer buck in its natural environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1″Photo” A Fallow deer buck in its natural environment.

Fallow bucks average between 100-200 pounds (50-100 kg), three feet or one meter at the shoulder, and spotted brown beige in summer or spotty gray in the winter months.

Dama have the same naming convention as Whitetail deer, males are “bucks”, females are “doe” and the young are known as “fawns”. Herds can be relatively large with mature bucks staying in small bachelor groups until the breeding season has begun. The rut normally starts in October or November in Europe and March or April in New Zealand, with a gestation period of seven months.

Nature Status: With only two species, the standard Fallow have healthy populations and are categorized as “least concern” (LC) by the confederation of worldwide conservation groups. A very popular deer for venison farming, and since it adapts easily to a variety of habitats, the Fallow deer has spread around the world to six of the seven continents; excluding Antarctica.

Natural Predators: Wolf, coyote, puma, bear, and the lynx are all capable of hunting Fallow deer. In England, Scotland, Ireland, and New Zealand there are no natural predators other than man.

Life Span:  Dama dama can survive on farms or in deer parks to be as old as 16, the wild populations live relatively average life spans of up to eight or ten years. Hunting pressure, predators, harsh winters as well as Chronic wasting disease effect Fallow as most other species of the Cervidae family of deer.

Habitat:  Coniferous forest and meadows from lowlands to highlands around the world. Fallow are as happy in arid environments as they are in the lush deciduous woodlands. Fallows are grazers and prefer grasses, shrubbery, and acorns but also enjoy low lying trees during the winter months.

Hunting:   Stand hunting is generally practiced within central and northern Europe although there are active spot and stalk opportunities in Croatia. Since like most deer, Fallow stay in or near the forested areas during daylight, it is best to hunt near the edges in the mornings and later afternoons as well as from stands in the transition zones. Whitetail and Red deer tactics can both be employed with great success.

Gear:  Standard high velocity deer rifles and .25-30 (6.5-7.62mm) caliber bullets for medium size thin skin game. In the UK a .243 with a 100 grain bullet and Germany 6.5mm with 2000 joules of energy at 100m are the minimum legal calibers. Mobile tree stands and ground blinds are helpful. The Fallow rutting croak can be reproduced with short grunts from a red deer roar tube. The “Croaking” of a larger mature rutting buck can be heard on our Wild Jaeger YouTube channel, “Wildjaegerhunt”.

Trophy: The palmated antlers are shovel like in appearance as is a moose and do not have typical points that one would expect to see as a standard 10 point whitetail or a 6×6 elk.  Young bucks up to the age of three are nothing more than spikes with their third head beginning to show some minor palming, also know in the German hunter language “Jaegersprache” as a “Knieper”. Shoulder, neck (Victorian style), and skull “Euro” mounts are all common depending on the region. The hide is often tanned due to the beautiful spots similar to a young fawn, usually used as a rug or wall covering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2 “Photo” Mat Cervantes with his Fallow Deer buck from Croatia, 2011.

Action Card  The oldest and widest spread wild and farmed deer species in the world. Native to South east Europe and Asia minor. Introduced to North and South America, Australia, New Zeeland, all over Europe, and even South Africa.

Preferred Calibers:   6.5mm Swede .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, 30-06.

Rifles: Bolt actions and semi-automatics

Archery: Compound and Recurve bows are preferred with broad head arrow tip used similar to other deer hunting (Where legal).

Optics: High quality optics with a medium magnification of 8-10×42 to allow for medium to long range shots. Spotting scope and a laser range finder are recommended for ethical shots but not required.

Notes:  The Rut may occur from October to November in Europe and March to April in the southern hemisphere like New Zealand.

Method; Preferred method is stand hunting outside of the rut where you can spot and stalk

*Disclaimer: Please contact your local and state game management office for exact details and regulations pertaining to the area you are hunting.

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