Fallow deer herd at Bolderwood

Fallow deer

Fallow deer are the most commonly seen deer in the New Forest National Park. Numbers are maintained at about 1,300 on the Crown lands. Although not a native species, they have been present since Norman times and have the longest continuous lineage of any deer species in the Forest. They are common throughout England and Wales, but less so in Scotland. Mature males, which have palmate (webbed) antlers, are known as bucks, the females as does and their young as fawns.


Fallow deer gather in herds and they feed in mature deciduous woodland, particularly at the time of the autumn mast crop and in winter when their diet includes a greater proportion of woody browse. They can also be seen grazing on open land such as woodland clearings, grassy rides and open forest habitats. They can be seen almost anywhere in the Forest, but deciduous woodland is the best place.

The New Forest was William the Conqueror’s first hunting forest in England, and the hunting of fallow bucks took place for over 900 years until it was outlawed in 1997.

ID tip - Fallow deer are smaller than red deer and are mainly chestnut brown in summer, more grey in winter, and usually with an abundance of white spots, although the colour ranges from black through various browns to white.  Their most characteristic feature is the black and white backside, which differs from sika in having a black stripe down the tail, through the white area.

  1. Deer
  2. Red deer
  3. Roe deer
  4. Sika deer
  5. Fallow deer (you are here)
  6. Muntjac deer


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