Deer on the increase.

A clump of deer droppings.

A clump of deer droppings.

Three species of deer occur in the Strathbogies – Sambar (Cervus unicolor), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) and Fallow (Dama dama), as far as I know. Evidence of deer (droppings, wallows, tracks, rubbing trees) is very common in forested areas (State Forest and pine plantations) and the last few good years may have seen them breed up even more.

We rarely see deer in the vicinity of our property on Boundary Hill, perhaps four or five sightings in the last 10 years (one Red Deer, the rest Sambar). My guess is they are usually passing through, as their preferred habitat of gullies, wetlands and dense thickets is not extensive on Boundary Hill. But the other day, around 6 pm, I drove into our drive way to find a large Fallow Deer at the gate post. It’s the first time I’ve seen this species anywhere near Boundary Hill. After being initially startled, it trotted further into our garden, before turning around and running full speed back toward the gate,  jumped the fence and disappeared into the vineyard below the road.

Deer droppings in the forest.

Deer droppings in the forest.

A few days later I found these droppings (pictured) up in the forest, though I can’t say which species they are from. Perhaps there are more deer on our hill than I’d realized.

Fallow Deer, from ozanimals.com

Red Deer, from informedfarmers.com

Sambar Deer, stag, from arrozinc.com

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4 Responses to Deer on the increase.

  1. It turns out these particular Fallow Deer didn’t have to come very far to get to our bush. Our neighbours didn’t know what to do with their small herd of deer when they were moving house, so they just opened the paddock gate. The animals were only had a few hundred meters from our bush and our orchard! Some people.

  2. Russell Edwards says:

    Gday – just thought you might want to know those are not deer pellets. Have a look on google images for sambar pellets, fallow pellets, red deer pellets – they are more uniform in shape than in the pic, with a distinctive shape, and they don’t clump together. The clump in the pic looks like it could be feral pig poo?

    Either way, consider yourself lucky – an opportunity to turn an environmental problem into a source of high-quality free-range food!

  3. Thanks Russell. You’re right about the droppings not being typical of deer, but I can assure you that’s what they were. There were other droppings nearby that were the more typical pellet shape – I should have included those in the post. All herbivore pellets vary in size, shape etc, depending on what the animal has been eating. The drier the feed, the drier and more discrete the pellets. But if the feed is juicy, then pellets can vary quite a lot in shape, consistency and clumped-ness. And the culprits (Fallow Deer) were regulars in that part of the forest; plenty of tracks, hair on fence wire and a favorite camp-site under an oak tree nearby. You’re spot on about the free-range food. It was delicious!!

  4. Hi there,
    I’m sending this enquiry from New Zealand, where I’m tracking down images to use on a proposed website. The non-profit website, which will be called Pest Detective, is being developed as a non-commercial resource by the National Pest Control Agencies (http://www.npca.org.nz/ ) here in New Zealand where, as in Australia, a number of introduced animals have naturalised and are regarded as pests due to the threats they pose to our native biodiversity or to productive land uses. The website is to help people here identify the presence of pests from the animal sign in the field.

    We would like permission to use the top image on your ‘Deer on the Increase’ post of Feb 1, 2013 showing ‘A clump of deer droppings’. If you are happy for us to use it, let us know what copyright acknowledgement you require and, if possible, would you be able to send a higher resolution copy as our website image spec is 500 x 500 pixels.

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