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Red deer

- King of the forest

In the film about Bambi, the big red stag is king of the forest. A red stag (male) is also a very impressive sight. It is 150 cm at shoulder height and can weigh over 200 kg, making it Denmark’s largest land mammal. Every year, the male gets new antlers that are one size larger than the old ones. An old male may have as many as 22 ends on its antlers. A red stag’s antlers are a coveted trophy among hunters. There is a large population of red deer in the heath and plantation areas in Oksbøl, and red deer can also be seen in many forest areas of southern Jutland and along the river Kongeå.

Roaring stags in courtship
In autumn the deer are on heat. For a male deer, it is important that he mates with as many females as possible. The strongest males gather a herd of females around them, which they defend from other males. This kind of stag is called a dominant stag. They puff themselves up, to show their strength, roll in the mud and urine and roar vehemently, so they can be heard far and wide. If other males come near, they try to chase them away. Sometimes it takes a violent fight with antlers before the challenger gives up. Hinds in their flocks alternate in being in heat right up until December. During that period, the male has busies himself defending his flock and mating with the females. A dominant stag does not feed itself in the rutting season, so it can become so weak that it has to hand over its territory to another stag. 

Tracks: The hind’s footsteps or hoof print is 6-7 cm long and 4-5 cm wide. The stag’s is 8-9 cm long and 6-7 cm wide. The red deer’s animal droppings are usually black, smooth, short and cylindrical. They are 20-25 mm long and 13-18 mm thick.

Facts: The red deer stag (male) can weigh 100-230 kg, while the red deer hind (female) is somewhat smaller and only weighs 80-120 kg. The fur is grey-brown in winter and red-brown in summer. As their name suggests, they are called red deer because of their reddish fur. Red deer feed on grass, leaves and shoots and buds of conifers. On the moors, it eats young fresh heather plants. In winter it can damage the trees by tearing off the bark in large strips. There are approximately 14,000 red deer in Denmark and the stock is increasing. It is found in many places in Jutland and in a few places on Sealand.