As the UK’s largest wild land mammal, the red deer is an icon with a history in Harting going back 800 years. And, of course, in the Scottish highlands…The Monarch of the Glen, The Stag at Bay … red deer crop up everywhere from framed prints to shortbread tins.
Living up to its fame, a stag’s antlers, growing at the rate of up to 2.5 cm a day, can stretch up to a metre wide with up to 16 branches. The antlers, shed and regrown each year, are used as weapons to intimidate and see off other males during the autumnal breeding season known as ‘the rut’.
As farm animals, red deer are as tame as cattle and the most efficient converters of grass to meat. Compared to other species of deer, they also produce larger, better cuts of venison.