Hunting Fallow Deer in South Africa
The fallow deer (Dama dama) is an Eurasian deer that was introduced into South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, and other African countries in the late 1860s. If you plan on hunting fallow deer in Africa, then South Africa is your destination. The best areas to hunt fallow deer in South Africa are the Free State and the Eastern Cape.
Fallow deer bucks weigh between 130 to 220 pounds, and stand 33-37 inches at the shoulder. The does are lighter at 65 to 110 pounds and stand 30-33 inches at the shoulder. Their life span is 12-15 years. Only the bucks have antlers, which are shovel-shaped. These develop after three years. Until then only a spike grows.
They are grazing animals, preferring open grassland and woodland. The fallow deer have adapted well to different habitats, and is not particular as to where it lives, be it forested areas or general agricultural land. They gather into herds of up to 150 animals and don’t spread out except during the rut in March and April. The bucks get together with the does for mating, but then leave the mixed herd and form a bachelor herd.
Gestation lasts 210 days and usually one faun is produced. Occasionally twins appear, but this only happens about 2% of the time.
If danger threatens, fallow deer are agile and can run at speeds up to 30 miles per hour over short distances. They can also jump five feet high and 25 feet in length.
Fallow deer were introduced into the Western Cape province of South Africa. They have been transferred years ago to KwaZulu-Natal as well as to the Gauting province and the Eastern Cape, where hunting Fallow deer in South Africa now occurs.. A number of game farms are raising them for the hunting industry where they are very popular due to their exotic qualities. The deer adapt well to the southern Africa climate where they have access to savanna grasslands and cooler temperatures in the Highveld above five thousand feet.
When you hunt fallow deer in South Africa you can use the same techniques that you would use when hunting whitetail deer in North America. It is most active during the morning and late afternoon hours. To hunt fallow deer in South Africa, locate a game trail or pastures where fallow deer have been feeding. When they sense danger, fallow deer will hide in tall grass and lay there until the hunter gets close enough to step on the deer. When they feel that the hunter is too close, they will jump up and take off as fast as they can go. This makes for a nice, healthy shot of adrenaline for the hunter and probably subtracts a number of years from his lifespan.
The fallow deer will run for 100-125 yards and stop to look back to see what spooked him. This is the time to take the shot as he will only stop for a very few seconds. Aim for a spot one-third up the body and just behind the foreleg.