Deer hunting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Deer hunting is survival hunting or sport hunting for deer, which dates back tens of thousands of years. There are many types of deer around the world that are hunted.

International practices

New Zealand

New Zealand has had 10 species of deer (Cervidae) introduced. From the 1850s, red deer were liberated, followed by fallow, sambar, wapiti, sika, rusa, and whitetail. The introduced herds of axis and moose failed to grow, and have become extinct. In the absence of predators to control populations, deer were thought to be a pest due to their effect on native vegetation. From the 1950s the government employed professional hunters to cull the deer population. Deer hunting is now a recreational activity, organised and advocated for at the national level by the New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association.[1]

North America

Mule deer have a black-tipped tail which is proportionally smaller than that of the white-tailed deer. Buck deer of both species sprout antlers; the antlers of the mule deer branch and rebranch forming a series of Y shapes, while white-tailed bucks typically have one main beam with several tines sprouting from it. White-tailed bucks are slightly smaller than mule deer bucks.[citation needed] Both of the species lose their antlers in January, and regrow the antlers during the following summer beginning in June.[2]

A New Hampshire deer hunt circa 1910.

As their antlers become fully developed, they will start to shed their velvet. Velvet is a skin-like material that feels like velvet, that covers the growing antlers. The velvet will fall off of the deer when their antlers start to harden, which typically will happen in the span of 24 hours.[3]

A hunter camouflaged in a tree stand.

US Government Regulation

Methods of pursuing game and corresponding seasons are subject to government regulations, which are determined by each state. Deer hunting seasons vary across the United States; some seasons in Florida and Kentucky[4] start as early as September and can go all the way until February like in Texas. The government agency such as the DFW (Department of Fish and Wildlife) regulate the durations of these hunting seasons. The length of the season is often based on the health and population of the deer herd, in addition to the number of hunters expected to be participating in the deer hunt. The durations of deer hunting seasons vary from state to state, and can even be different on a county basis within a specific state (as is the case in Kentucky[4]). The DFW will also create specific time frames within the season where the number of hunters able to hunt is limited; this is known as a controlled hunt. The DFW will also create different time periods where you are only allowed to use a specified type of weapon: bows only (compound, recurve, and crossbows), modern firearms (rifles and shotguns) or muzzleloaders. (Note also that some states, such as Kentucky,[4] consider only compound and recurve bows as "bows" for hunting regulation purposes, and have special seasons for crossbows.)[5] For example, during a bows-only season, in many areas you would be limited to the use of a bow and the use of any firearm would be prohibited until that specific season opens, and in some areas a crossbow can only be used during a dedicated season for that weapon. Similarly, during a muzzleloader season, use of modern firearms is almost always prohibited. However, in many states, the archery season (at least for compound and recurve bows) completely overlaps all firearms seasons; in those locations, bowhunters may take deer during a firearms season. Some states also have restrictions on hunting of antlered or antlerless deer. For example, Kentucky allows the taking of antlerless deer during any deer season in most of the state, but in certain areas allows only antlered deer to be taken during parts of deer season.[4]

United Kingdom

There are six species of deer in the UK : red deer, roe deer, fallow deer, Sika deer, Reeves muntjac deer, and Chinese water deer, as well as hybrids of these deer. All are hunted to a degree reflecting their relative population either as sport or for the purposes of culling. Closed seasons for deer vary by species.[6] The practice of declaring a closed season in England dates back to medieval times, when it was called fence month and commonly lasted from June 9 to July 9, though the actual dates varied.[7] It is illegal to use bows to hunt any wild animal in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

UK deer stalkers, if supplying venison (in fur) to game dealers, butchers and restaurants, need to hold a Lantra level 2 large game meat hygiene certificate. Courses are run by organisations such as Basc (British association for shooting and conservation) and this qualification is also included within the Level 1 deer stalking certificate. If supplying venison for public consumption (meat), you need to have a fully functioning and clean larder that meets FSA standards and to register as a food business with your local authority.[8]


In Australia, there are six species of deer that are available to hunt. These are Fallow deer, Sambar, Red deer, Rusa, Chital, and Hog deer.[9]

United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

A depiction of deer hunting with hounds from a 15th-century version of The Hunting Book of Gaston Phébus.

The vast majority of deer hunted in the UK are stalked. The phrase deer hunting is used to refer (in England and Wales) to the traditional practice of chasing deer with packs of hounds, currently illegal under the Hunting Act 2004.

In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were several packs of staghounds hunting "carted deer" in England and Ireland. Carted deer were red deer kept in captivity for the sole purpose of being hunted and recaptured alive. More recently, there were three packs of staghounds hunting wild red deer of both sexes on or around Exmoor and the New Forest Buckhounds hunting fallow deer bucks in the New Forest, the latter disbanding in 1997. The practice of hunting with hounds, other than using two hounds to flush deer to be shot by waiting marksmen, has been banned in the UK since 2005; to date, two people have been convicted of breaking the law.[10]

There is one pack of stag hounds in the Republic of Ireland and one in Northern Ireland,[11] the former operating under a licence to hunt carted deer.[12]


See also


  1. ^ "Hunting today". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  2. ^ When Do Deer Shed Their Antlers? Retrieved 09 August 2017.
  3. ^ "About Deer Antlers". Retrieved 2018-02-13. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Deer Hunting Zones and Seasons". Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ Wexel, Mike (14 January 2017). "Deer Hunting Season in the United States". Peak Wilderness. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Naturenet: Shooting, Hunting and Angling Seasons. Naturenet - Countryside Management & Nature Conservation.
  7. ^ Forests and Chases of England and Wales: A Glossary. St John's College, Oxford.
  8. ^ The Wild Game Guide - Food Standards Agency Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  9. ^ Game Council NSW Archived 2009-05-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Hunting duo appeal is turned down". BBC News. 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  11. ^ Cassidy, Martin (2005-02-08). "Frustrations of hunter and hunted". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  12. ^ [1] Archived November 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links

Media related to Deer hunting at Wikimedia Commons

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