Bucks stand 900–1,000 mm at shoulder height and 60–85 kg in weight with does smaller at 850–900 mm shoulder height and weighing 30–50 kg.
The most variable of any deer species in New Zealand, with four distinct colours, often called “phases”:
- Melanistic phase
In New Zealand this is the most common colour encountered. Brown-black back with paler grey-brown underside and neck. There are no spots or tail patch.
- Common phase
Light reddish-brown sides and back with conspicuous white spots and a black stripe down the back. Colour grey-black in winter.
- Menil phase
A paler version of the “common” colour when in summer coat, but without the darker winter coat.
- Leucistic phase
In young animals a creamy colour that, by the second summer, becomes pure white. These animals are not albino, having darkpigmented eyes and nose.
Present on bucks only and cast in October to November with replacement antlers grown by February. Typical antlers on older deer have a round main beam at the base, which becomes flattened (palmated) towards the top. On the lower beam there are brow and trez tines and the palmation has points on the rear edge, pointing backwards. Yearlings only have unbranched spikes.
Rifle and calibre
.223 and above are suitable for shooting fallow deer, but .243 or heavier is preferable.
289 2/8 DS taken by Adrian Ashby at McCaughley Valley in 2015.
Record Book Qualification
200 Douglas Score.