Wednesday, June 9, 2010



white fallow deer
Dama dama

Seeing these white deer while camping was a bit of a surprise. I really like the woody pattern on the fuzzy antlers. The females look like large goats to me.

In the 1930's William Randolph Hearst, of the Hearst Castle fame, gave a pair of fallow deer to the Henry Miller Estate, probably for hunting or novelty; these are those descendants. Henry Miller, an extraordinarily successful (and perhaps not very charitable) cattle rancher and an influential figure in California's land use history, built an elaborate summer home complex on Mt. Madonna. This land is now a part of the Santa Clara County Parks.

2 comments:

John W. Wall said...

There was a lot of controversy over these and Axis deer at Pt. Reyes a while back. Many of the exotic deer were shot, but now they say their doing contraception of the remaining animals so they eventually die out. I haven't seen a fallow or axis deer out there in a long time. I wondered if they killed them all.

Nature ID said...

It's the "Bambi effect" that creates the controversy. I admit I sometimes succumb to the inexplicable cuteness of deer, especially fawns with their big eyes. I'd never heard of fallow deer until this park curiosity. The interpretive sign says they cause "resource management challenges for several park agencies." Notice the males are physically kept away from the females by fencing? It's too bad we can't also feed the human hungry with the carcasses from these land management practices. New Zealand has created several deer farms to handle their introduced species, one of which I stayed at: http://othernatureid.blogspot.com/2010/05/hapuku-lodge-kaikoura-new-zealand.html