Serwis poświęcony przyrodzie województwa podkarpackiego

Red deer

                                           RED DEER Cervus elaphus


The deer is considered big game, being one of the largest animals in the country and an object of interest of hunters. It is difficult to imagine a Carpathian landscape without the majestic bellowing deer during the autumn rutting season, when spectacular fights between the bucks can be observed. Many consider the deer to be the king Carpathian forest.



The deer is present in almost all Europe, except for the far north. In Poland, it can be encountered in all major forest complexes. Based on annual estimates performed by various units of the State Forests, the area of 53 4818 ha covered by the project is home to more than 5500 deer.


Species Description

  • Body Mass: 100–350 kg
  • Body Length: 1.5–2.6 m
  • Shoulder Height: 75–140 cm
  • Sexual Dimorphism: male (stag) significantly larger than female (hind), the males sport antlers
  • Nutrition: herbivore
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Lifestyle: lives in herds


Biology and ecology

Many authors express the opinion that Poland is home to two deer species: lowland and Carpathian. It inhabits deciduous and forests mixed with rich undergrowth, where in addition to older stands, dense young stands may be found along with, meadows and bogs. The deer are herbivorous and feed mainly on sprouts, leaves, bark, trees and shrub fruit, and in the winter, dried grass, moss, lichens, buds and young shoots of coniferous trees. They live in herds called mobs. One type of mob is formed by hinds and their young led by the most experienced female. The males on the other hand, form separate smaller mobs led by the strongest stag. Old stags live alone. During mating season, herds made of stags fall apart, and individual specimens go on to search for females. An interesting phenomenon observed in nature is the rutting season (i.e. oestrous), which takes place in autumn. Its intensity is highest for two weeks from mid-September to mid-October. During that time, the stag if it is strong enough, gathers a harem of 6–10 hinds in heat, which he guards against the approach of other males. The hinds mature sexually at the age of 2 years, while stags, at 1. An exquisite ornament for these animals are the branched antlers of the males, which they shed every year and grow a new one in its place.


Protection and hazards

Their natural enemies in Poland are the wolf, lynx and bear. The red deer is a game species with a protection period. Stags can be hunted between 21 August until the end of February, the hinds, from 1 October to 15 January, while calves from 1 October until the end of February (Regulation of Minister of the Environment on setting out hunting seasons for wild game of 16.03.2005).


EU Law

  • Habitat Directive – Appendix II and IV
  • Bern Convention – Appendix III

IUCN threat category

  • IUCN Red List of endangered species: LC (least concern)



Red deer, fot. Zenon...
Red deer, fot. Zenon...
A swarm of red deer,...

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Strona została rozbudowana w ramach projektu "Zielone Podkarpacie - popularyzacja różnorodności biologicznej w wymiarze ekosystemowym" który korzysta z dofinansowania w kwocie 896 496 zł pochodzącego z Islandii, Liechtensteinu i Norwegii w ramach funduszy EOG.

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