Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hunting Fallow Deer: Tips and Techniques

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Trophy Fallow Deer Hunting
Image Credit: Matt Burrard-Lucas
Spotted Coat Mature Buck in Velvet
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Image Credit: Stuart
At one time, way in the distant past, even before my dad was born, the Fallow deer was native to most of Europe. An important food source for sabre tooth cats and other toothy predators, the Fallow deer was even appreciated by the fur wearing, spear wielding, deer hunting, Palaeolithic man for the tasty, low fat, and tender venison. But as the glaciers receded (or was it advanced?) and areas became more arid, their range became restricted to the Middle East, parts of the Mediterranean, and Persia. Palaeolithic man ever resourceful, shifted his diet to include more of the other white meat, Eurasian wild boar, to compensate. But we will pick up that thread later.

Easily tamed, it was the ever practical Romans that sensibly reintroduced them to the various parts of their far flung Empire. Even Great Britain was stocked with Fallow deer by those clever Romans. The Celts thought it a grand idea too! Unfortunately the Romans didn't quite make it to the North American continent, so it was only recently that Fallow deer arrived on our shores. Ranches like Native Hunt in Monterey, California have been stocking and breeding Fallow deer for many years.

Fallow deer prefer to graze on grasses in open areas, but they do like wooded and shrubby areas to shelter in. Winter browse consist of the same woody brush and trees they shelter in. Weather plays an important part in the overall health of the deer and quality of the buck's antlers. Good spring weather followed by a summer with occasional precipitation that creates quality browse and grazing conditions will promote big bodies and maximum antler growth.
Image Credit: oggywaffler
Admired by many for their impressive palmate antlers, fallow deer bucks are a must have mount for any hunter, exotic or otherwise. The Fallow bucks start, like most deer, with "spike" antlers during their first year. For the first three to four years, their head gear consists of primarily a main beam with points similar in shape to a mini elk but without the graceful curves. Depending on genetics and nutrition, at about three to four years of age the bucks start to develop palmations. Some have narrow longer palmations, while others grow deep, wide palmations. Trophy Fallow deer antlers are broadly palmated with several small tines. An exceptional set of antlers will measure in excess of 28 inches in length with an inside span of at least 24 inches.

They are relatively small bodied. An adult male Fallow Deer stands between 32 and 48 inches high at the shoulder and can weigh upwards of 200 pounds. They also exhibit a wide variety of colors. When I asked Mike at Native Hunt about the different colors available he said their Fallow deer come in a beautiful white, a warm chocolate, and the spotted variety.

Image Credit: alesimba

Hunting trophy Fallow deer is not necessarily for the sedentary or armchair hunter. The terrain can vary from sun baked scrub, to brush choked ravines, making the physical challenge one to remember. There are hunts of course that are less physically demanding. Blinds are set up identical to a deer stand, along trails and near meadows or pastures where the deer may pass or congregate. Just ask your outfitter for the different opportunities available.

Rifles can be on the light side; anything from a 24 caliber on up is more than adequate. I would suggest a lightweight 243 Winchester, a 6.5X55 Swede, or a 257 Roberts. Of course if all you have is a 308 or 30/06 then by all means bring that! If you are going to hunt wild boars at the same time, then perhaps a minimum of 30 caliber would be prudent. The range that they are shot at can vary substantially, so check with your outfitter to determine the conditions you are likely to face, and what they recommend.

My good friend Mike Riddle at Native Hunt has been managing several herds of Fallow deer on his properties for many years. He has SCI Gold Medal Fallow deer that you will be proud to hang on your wall. But even the management deer are trophies in their own right.

"At Native Hunt, we focus on providing guests with absolute Tier I service. Our goal since we began operation in 1990 is that guests should be able to spend their days in the rugged outdoors hunting exotic game or exploring the property with one of our adventure tours, yet still be provided with great comfort and luxury in the wilderness. Native Hunt’s focus is entirely on the guest; giving them a memorable, successful hunting experience, while at the same time providing an extravagant retreat."
Mike Riddle, CEO Native Hunt

If you are considering a trophy hunt for Fallow deer, or perhaps a mixed bag of exotic game, give Native Hunt a call and book a hunt. Mike runs an exceptional operation that caters to his clients needs and desires. Native Hunt is a licensed, state-bonded, and insured hunting guide service. They have been in business since 1990 with ranches located in beautiful Monterey and Fresno counties. A hunt at Native Hunt will be a hunt to remember!

Native Hunt

Contact Native Hunt with any questions or to make reservations:
General Questions: info@nativehunt.com
Hunting Questions: hunts@nativehunt.com
Bookings: 408-837-0733
Or call toll free: 1-888-HUNT-321

Related Links:
The Hog Blog: Busy Weekend!
Phillip takes a Fallow

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


native said...

Thank you so much for the praise and recommendation's as well as the background of these impressive animals Albert, we do try very hard to please our clients.

Stephen Olner said...

I forgot how pretty they are, we have parks in the UK just full of them and you can get to within 50 yards of them

Michael Spinelli said...


I'm looking forward to the opportunity to actually go hunting. Thanks for all the info you put out, and putting your credibility out on the line really gives me confidence when I look at all your other writing.

Thanks a million,
Mike S.

Albert A Rasch said...


Thanks for the kind words. I try to write from an honest position and up-front. The folks I recommend are people I know personally and that I trust. The merchandise I recommend is likewise stuff that I am using or have used. If it's substandard, it wont appear on TROC.

Again, thanks!

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