Fallow Deer

Fallow deer were introduced into Ireland by the Normans in 1169 and have become Ireland’s most widespread deer and are found in most woodland countrywide. Fallow have a very keen sense of smell and are extremely alert to any foreign noise. The common variety of Fallow deer is the familiar tan/fawn colour with white spotting on the flanks. Fallow Deer 1

Fallow bucks are easiest to see in October during the rut and tend to use the same rutting ground each year. The breeding season (rut) is throughout the month of October; the timing of the rut is controlled by the length of the day. During the rut the bucks move into the females’ area and competition can be fierce. In the rut season, bucks groan intensely and does with fawns give a short bark when alarmed.

Fallow deer’s main diet is grass, although young trees may be eaten during autumn and winter. Humans are now the only predators of deer in Ireland. In the past, wolves used to hunt deer, but the last Irish wolf was shot in Carlow in 1786.

Fallow deer are protected under the Wildlife Act, but are classed as a quarry species, with a hunting season. Fallow Deer 2 A licence is needed for hunting or culling deer and the meat is often sold to game dealers. The season for Fallow bucks lasts from the 1st of September to the 31st of December while the season for Fallow does begins on the 1st of November and ends on the 28th of February.

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