About Sika Deer
Sika Deer were introduced into the local estates of Bolton Hall and Gisburn Park Estate in circa. 1860.
Male sika deer are called stags, females hinds and the young calves. When fully grown stags weigh between 40 to 70kg and hinds 30 to 45kgs. By comparison, an average adult man in Britain is 1.77m high and weighs 79kg. Sika are similar to fallow deer in coat colour. They vary from pale yellow/brown through to red/brown with white spots in the summer months to dark grey and black in the winter. There is often a distinct dark coloured dorsal stripe running the length of the back. Sika have a shorter tail than the fallow and its black stripe is less distinct. There are very noticeable white glands on the hind legs of the deer and they have a distinctive white rump. The sika’s head is small in comparison to the rest of the body. Their antlers are widely spaced and the angle of the forward point from the main antler beam is about 45°. They have a maximum of 8 points on their antlers. Hinds do not have antlers. The tracks of a sika are similar to those of a red deer but they are slightly smaller in length (about 7cm) and narrower.
Deer rutting season is the period between the middle of October to early December when deer mate.
Sika Deer History
HISTORY, DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT
Sika deer in the UK were introduced from the Far East into Britain in 1860. While animals from a number of sources were introduced into enclosed parks the only free-living form in Britain is considered to be the Japanese sika. It is possible that almost all (if not all) living English, Scottish and some Irish sika are descendants from only one stag and three hinds introduced to Viscount Powerscourt’s deer park at Enniskerry, Eire in 1860. Sika introduced into estates in England such as Gisburn Park Estate and Bolton Hall Estate.
The preferred habitat is coniferous woodlands and heaths on acid soils. Sika graze on grasses and dwarf shrubs, especially heather, although coniferous tree shoots and tree bark may occasionally be taken in small quantities. Browsing of tree shoots and agricultural crops and bark stripping and bole scoring (gouging with the antlers) of plantation trees puts sika in conflict with farmers and foresters due to economic damage.