Migrating from Europe to Britain almost 11,000 years ago, they are a native species to this part of the world. The Mesolithic men utilized this species for various daily uses. Whether it was creating tools out of bones and antlers or using them as a source of food and skins, the red stag contributed to various necessities. Aside from this, the Neolithic men would invest their days in developing the agriculture by removing masses of forest to create room for fields. Although beneficial, this unfortunately was the main cause of a significant decline in the population of the red stag. Eventually, the red stag became restricted to the Scottish Highlands in the south west portion of England. There was even a span of time where in Britain, they were welcome to wander so the Royals could hunt!
Although it’s one of the most common predators of the red stag, the population of wolves in many parts of the world is slowly declining. This has led to an increase in the population. By reintroducing wolves into several areas, this affects the stag population. Many harbor the belief that this will balance out the red stag population since there is plenty of room for both species to thrive. Humans are the largest predator since they offer a hearty amount of meat. When this species is not being hunted for meat, it is sought after to do taxidermy on the beautiful animal or harvest their antlers.
Did you know records of fossils showing us that this species has been in existence for over 12 million years? Many may wonder how they’ve been around for so long. A great deal of people speculate that the red stag was notably larger than they are today; and they are already gigantic!
Standing between 42 to 54 inches and weighing anywhere between 200 to 420 lbs. – the red stag is a true beast! Females, which are known as Hinds, can loom within 42 to 48 inches and have a weight anywhere between 140 to 265 lbs. With antlers that ordinarily have six points, they contribute greatly to their weight! Although six points is the usual, having as many as 15 points can be a signifier of dominance. Spanning outwards, the antlers of a stag cover a long stretch. Having such incomparable attributes makes the antlers of a red stag a unique hunt.
Wondering why they bear the name “red stag”? Take one look at them and you’ll know why! Known for their beautiful red coat, they earned their name due to their coloring. Not so fast though – there is no one true shade of red that is distinctive to them! Each deer has a differing red shade that is unique to their coat. This can differ depending on the region that they are in. In some areas of the world, their coats are generally a very dusky red color, similar to a brown coloring. During winter seasons, the coat of a stag will change in coloring and appear as more of a gray color. When it is winter, hunters often confuse the red stag with other breeds of deer. When blending into surroundings, this changing of color with the seasons is beneficial to keeping themselves hidden.
With a tendency to mate during later months of September-November, this time is known as the rut. A grown stag will put much effort and time into competing with other stags during this time when it comes to mating with the hinds. Sizing each other up by roaring and walking parallel, there is never a need for the stags to be violent. When evenly matched, they will push each other around while locking antlers. Although this may appear as violent, this action is to throw the other stag off balance. When this rut period ends, the stag and hind will part ways and give birth to what’s typically one fawn. Anywhere between late May and June is when this will occur. While a female calf will tend to stick with their mother, a male calf will eventually venture into the wild when it begins to reach one-two years of age.
Although the hinds and stags both prefer to remain in separate groups for most of the year, the stags will oftentimes group into what is known as a “bachelor herd”. The hinds will generally be in groups that have a single dominant hind and her female offspring. Within a period of 24 hours, they become their most active during night hours to shy away from humans wandering about. With a diet that is practically the same as any other species of deer, they feed on most greenery and foliage. Whether they are munching on shrubs, grasses, bushes, or trees, they surely have no problem finding food.