by Guerry Norwood

Recently there have been a number of deer sighting all over St Simons Island. The deer are more prevalent on the less populated north end of St Simons Island, but recently they have been spotted all over the Island.

European fallow deer are found here on the Georgia Coast and come in three colors—dark brown, white and spotted. Just because a female fallow deer is one color does not mean her offspring will be the same color. In fact, she could give birth to any of the three color phases. Male fallow deer have a palmed antler much like that of a moose. If the antler is nine inches across, it is considered to be a good-sized antler. These antlers will fall off each year and regrow in the spring. Their first antlers typically are unbranched spikes. Deer two to four years of age usually produce slightly larger antlers with more points. Their antlers become palmated and have many points once a buck reaches five or six years of age. Antler size usually increases as bucks grow older. Deer five to nine years old produce the largest antlers.

At birth, fawns have a coat slightly darker than the common color phase spotted with white. Newborn fawns weigh about eight to eleven pounds. Adult females (does) weigh between 65 and 100 pounds; adult bucks usually weigh between 175 and 225 pounds. Does tend to reach their maximum size between four to six years of age and bucks reach maximum body size at five to nine years of age. Fallow deer live in herds of around 70 members and prefer to live in wooded and marsh areas. They eat grass, leaves, nuts, berries, corn and bark.

We are happy to share an island with these beautiful animals. Visit Arkive for more fallow deer information and photos.

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