The Fallow Herd
- The South Kaipara Fallow Deer herd (the Woodhill herd) is the only recognized fallow deer herd north of Auckland, having been here for 105 years. The herd ranges effectively from Muriwai Beach in the south to South Head at the entrance of the Kaipara Harbour in the north: map. The management of this herd is without doubt a success story that needs to be repeated throughout New Zealand.
- Around 1900 two groups of animals were liberated near Lake Otatoa on the South Head peninsula by Alfred Buckland the then landowner. It is believed these animals came from the Motutapu Island herd in the Hauraki Gulf. The origin of these animals were from an initial shipment in 1861 from Pembrokeshire in Wales.
- Around 1955 another liberation occurred at the southern (Muriwai) end of the Woodhill forest which eventually over time joined up with the main herd to the north. In recent times it has been rumored that there have been releases of superior genetic stock, which have enhanced the quality of the animals in this herd.
- Woodhill forest is a typical radiata pine forest with small bands of Kanaka and Manuka and coastal sand dunes covered in marram, toi toi and lupin.
"Menil Fallow" (behind)
- Fallow Deer have four main colour phases:
The summer coat of the Common Fallow is a deep chestnut in colour with white spots which in winter turns to a dark brown and the spots fade. The tail has a black stripe running along its length and is surrounded by a light coloured area bordered by a black fringe.
The Menil's coat is similar to that of the Common except that it has a greater number of spots and the area around the tail is bordered by brown. A Menil's spots are still visible on the winter coat, which is a deeper brown than its summer coat.
White Fallow are cream coloured at birth, becoming paler as they mature and adults are almost pure white in winter. No spots are visible in their white coat.
Black Fallow have no spots at any time of the year and do not have the light area surrounding the tail. Their coats are black, shading to greyish brown all year round.
- The Woodhill herd mainly comprise of the black phase and some common phase and menil. Very occasionally a white phase may be seen.
BUCK The male fallow deer. PRICKET or SPIKER A buck in its second year. SORREL A buck in its third year. SOAR A buck in its fourth year. DOE A female fallow deer. TEG A doe in its second year. FAWN A young (first year) fallow deer. WEANER A slightly older fawn.
Listen to a Fallow Deer belching.
For more in-depth reading on Fallow Deer refer:
The Fallow Deer (The New Zealand Big Game Series Vol 3) by D. Bruce Banwell, published by Halcyon Publishing Ltd