Exotic Bow Hunting in East Texas

About the Exotics: Sika


Sika Deer


Author: Mikayla Perry


This is a white sika doe

     Sika deer, also known as the “spotted deer” or “Japanese deer”  are a species native to East Asia and have been introduced to several other places in the world.  Where it was once found in Vietnam and the Russian Far East, they are now mostly found in Japan. It’s name comes from the word shika, the Japanese word for deer.
  The Sika is apart of the genus Cervus, meaning “true deer”. They share this with the Red Deer and its three subcategories of its nine subspecies. It has been often speculated that the origins for all red deer were from Asia and most likely resembled that of Sika deer.
  The Sika deer keep their spots for their whole life, unlike many deer who shed these spots as they mature from a fawn. Interestingly, spot patterns will vary by the location of the Sika. Some
subspecies of
Sika will have large, noticeable spots while others may not show such distinct marking. Sika can have many colors of fur, such as: tawny orange, dark brown, mahogany, and even white have been seen.
     They are considered to be of medium size, while males are noticeably larger than females. All Sika have been described as “compact” and “dainty-legged”. When frightened, they have often been known to display a “flared rump”, much like it’s close cousin, the American Elk.

   Sika males have antlers that go vertically and have a very thick wall. They often grow into a fork at the end, showing two solid points. Females often have two black bumps on their own head in place of antlers. Males are often found to carry a sort of  “mane” during the “rutting” season.
   deer23 They are usually active during most of the day, though have been known to be nocturnal when around heavy human disturbance. In mountainous areas, they have been known to migrate. They have also been known to travel in herds, sometimes being in single-sexed groups. Larger herds are often found in autumn and winter.
   Sika are a very vocal species, like their Red Deer and Elk cousins. They have ten distinct noises, all ranging from what has been described as “soft whistles” to “loud screams”.
 Sika males can sometimes acquire a “harem” during the rut, the peak of which occurs in early September through October; but can last long into the winter months. Sika display signs of “territorial markings” by shallow pits called “scrapes.” This allows them to urinate and mark their scent over their desired location. Fights between males can often be intense and incredibly strong, even causing the death of one or both males in some cases.

  In Nara Prefecture, Japan, the Sika has been known to be called the “bowing deer”, as they bow before being fed what are known as “deer cookies” (shika senbei). Deer often bow their head in a display of aggression or play before headbutting. It is recommended that humans do not try to bow back at the deer, as they can attack the human because of  how it can be considered an aggressive stance.

  The Sika often display different behavior when frightened compared to most deer. They have been known to squat and lie down on their belly’s instead of fleeing the area of danger.
  On our ranch, the Sika happily take advantage of our vegetation and plentiful forest, much as they would in the wild. They are often caught on our game cameras around our feeder or by our photographers.
    Prices are listed on our website under Price Sheet.


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