The 3 species of Deer seen in Ashwellthorpe Lower Wood (and maybe on the local fields as the farmers know to their cost).

Comparison between species

Roe Deer

(Capreolus capreolus)

Adult Size. 10 to 25kg, 60 to 75cm at shoulder (bucks – males slightly larger than does – females).. This makes them just over half the size of red deer and the smallest native deer(but not the smallest as there are non native species locally)

Colouration. Summer: Black muzzle,reddish brown body. Winter: grey, pale brown or (occasionally) black. Key feature is a white rump seen as they run away

Antlers. velvety, short (<30cm), 3 tines (points) on each. Antlers much smaller than the hat rack type on male Red Deer

Lifespan. Max: 16 years. Bucks rarely exceed 5 years, does 6 to 7 years.

Solitary, forming small groups in winter.

These were the most common deer in the middle ages and later disappeared but the reason is not known. Just over 100 years ago they were reintroduced and have spread so that now there are thought to be over 500,000 in Britain

Red Deer

(Cervus elaphus)

Recognition. Our largest land-mammal. Summer coat is reddish brown to brown, winter coat is brown to grey. No spots present in adult coat. Large, highly branched antlers in the stag (male). Note NO white rump like the Roe Deer. The Red Deer has a buff coloured rump

Adult size. Stags 90-190kg, 107-137cm at shoulder. Females (hinds) 63-120kg, up to 107-122cm at shoulder. Deer on the open hill in Scotland are smaller than those in English woodland such as Aswellthorpe Lower Wood and the Red Deer is the largest and most impressive of the deer in our wood.

Antlers. Highly branched. The number of branches increases with age. Up to 16 points in native animals.

Life span. Possibly up to 18 years.

Red Deer have survived due to conservation (to allow hunting) since Saxon times and through the middle ages. No numbers are available for England but it is thought that there are 300,000 in Scotland with 50-70,000 culled each year.


(Muntiacus reevesi)

The mention of Reeves in the name is due to the man who first brought the species back to the UK

Recognition. Small, stocky, russet brown in summer, grey brown in winter. short antlers and visible upper canines in bucks. Very large facial glands below the eyes. Ginger forehead with pronounced black lines Haunches higher than withers, giving a hunched appearance (this is key identification feature). Fairly wide tail, which is held erect when disturbed. These are the smallest deer seen locally and are about the size of a medium sized dog. The similarity to dogs continues with the fact that they bark.

Adult size. Bucks (males): 10 to 18kg, 44 to 52cm at shoulder. Does (females): 9 to 16kg, 43 to 52cm at shoulder.

Antlers. Short (up to 10cm) but on long pedicles. Usually unbranched but brow tine occasionally found in old bucks.

Life span. Bucks: up to 16 years. Does: up to 19 years, but these are exceptional.

Origins. Muntjac were originally brought to the UK for the Duke of Bedford and escaped (or were released) from Woburn Park and have since spread widely across the UK in less than 100 years.

Note large rear quarters (key identification feature with size)

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