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Red Deer


Eurepean Red Deer lives mostly in pine and leafy forests. Sometimes they look for their food in fields. They sleep only in quiet, undisturbed places.

Lifestyle and reproduction

Red Deer lives in a herd. During the rut period, from 5 September till 10 October, the leader of the herd deer becomes particularly possessive of its doe and deer calves. Young deer, so-called “side deer” are kept away. If the main deer is not alert enough, those side deers will attempt to mate with one of his does. Mating for younger deer starts at 3-4 years of age, though even at this stage he is more interested in food and doesn’t rut strongly or with the deep voice of an older stag.

Over the whole mating season the leader of the heard doesn’t eat because he is very busy with protecting his herd of does, controlling them, and sometimes fighting off other males. By the end of the mating season a stag can lose roughly 25% of his weight.

If two similar sized deer meet in the same mating herd, a ritual fight begins. It starts with ’words’ passed, then walking side-by-side to size each other up. If neither of them quits, they start their famous wrestling with each other using their antlers. Surprisingly those fights very rarely end with death, or even serious injuries.

After mating with every doe in its herd, the stag leaves and returns to living in a stag herd, which is usually led by the youngest male deer. Very old stags lead a lonely life, and rarely join a stag herd.

After the mating season is over, the doe herds fall apart and mothers form family groups with their calves and the last year calves. A doe’s gestation takes 240 days, and usually has only one calf at one time.

European deer have excellent hearing sense of smell, but are also keen of sight, especially in regards to movement in the forest.

Deer feed in early morning or at dusk or late evening, when they feel safe and comfortable. They rest during the day. In the autumn and fall a deer changes its colors, calves and healthy ones first and then the old and sick.


Deer live on grass, herbs, but in desperation will go for trees. By eating young trees, especially pines, deer can cause much harm to the forests. Deer also eats agricultural produce such as sweet corn, peas and all sorts of grains.


In Czech as well as in Slovakia the deer’s most common threat in the wild are wolf, bear and stray dogs can be a problem too. Lynx can only take down doe or deer calves.

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