Sika Deer

Sika deer originated from the Japanese Islands in North Eastern Asia. One stag and three hinds were the original breeding stock for all Sika in Ireland. These were introduced by Lord Powerscourt in 1860. The main herds of wild Sika deer are concentrated in Kerry & Wicklow. Sika Deer 1 Sika are an extremely shy and timid animal.

The antlers of the stag are branched and generally have up to four points on each. The summer coat is a light reddish brown colour with faint visible spots along the flanks. In contrast, the winter coat is dark greyish brown with no spots.

The amount of daylight controls the timing of the rut, which is in late September to early October. Stags can be heard either clashing antlers or emitting a ‘whistle’ which sounds high pitched at the start and ends in a low pitched moan. Sika stags will be subdued into submission by being pushed backwards. Mating areas are marked by a facial scent. This is a territorial signal to other stags to keep away.

Sika deer are herbivorous, feeding on plants. Sika Deer 1 The main food of Sika deer is grass and sedges on mountains, along with leaves of trees and shrubs such as holly, heather and bilberry. In hard winters, deer may strip the bark off trees for food. Sika are protected under the Wildlife Act 1976 and may be hunted under licence. The stag season lasts from September 1st to December 31st while Hinds can be hunted from November 1st to February 28th.

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