View Full Version : Pere David deer Facts & Photos

Jack O'Conner
January 5, 2006, 10:02 AM


These amazing deer originate from NE China. A secret species known only to the Royal Court until 1865. The way the story goes, a French Jesuit missionary named Pere (father) Armand David observed these deer through a small hole in the courtyard wall. He made sketches and sent them to his Bishop. The news got out and exitement grew in Europe. But it took over 30 years for the Chinese Royals to be convinced they should share these deer with the world. In 1898, several breeding pair were delivered to an abbey in England where they prospered. Many estates in Europe rec'd breeding stock from these original deer. The Boxer Rebellian of 1900 introduced Communism to China. All deer within the Royal grounds were shot and eaten. Same fate for this species elsewhere in China. The species became extinct in its native lands! 20 years ago, 15 breeding pair were brought from England and released into the wilds of NE China through a Communist-Embassy program. Recently this herd has ben estimated at 2,500 animals!

Yet these deer cont'd to thrive in Europe and USA. Currently a ranch in Nebraska has over 80 breeding pairs. I had a chance to see these deer after simply contacting the ranch and asking for permission to view them.

Pere David deer have long antlers, 30 inches or longer is quite common. They have a tail just like a donkey. Oversize hooves and a heavy mane are other unique features.

For those interested: Trophy hunting for Pere David deer is available in USA, Argentina, UK, and Czech Republic.

January 5, 2006, 06:00 PM
You sure are workin your way through the deer species Jack. Nice to see and read keep going.:D

January 5, 2006, 06:16 PM
Looks like that first feller needs culling - gonna mess the gene pool antlerwise.

How big bodied are they? Red deer, sika? Lbs on the hoof?

Taste like chicken no doubt.... ;)

Neat species I'd never heard of before - thanks.

Jack O'Conner
January 9, 2006, 11:14 AM
Most North American sika deer rarely exceed 150 lbs live weight. Yet native sika in Manchuria are reputed to be heavier in body and antler. The sika deer I've observed in Maryland park lands appear to be 85-100 lbs or so. This because they're descended from Formosa sub-species of sika deer.

Red deer are smaller than North American elk. A big stag's live weight can get up to 575 lbs. The hinds are more like 300-400 lbs. Red deer are thriving in New Zealand. I read that hunting on large ranches within the southern mts. is quite challenging.

January 10, 2006, 05:20 PM
I know how big Red Deer and Sika are - gave them as examples in wondering how large these Pere David deer are in comparison.

So are you saying they are related to sika deer and are similar in size? Look larger to me, body seems a lot heavier...

Again - how big are these Pere David deer?

Jack O'Conner
January 11, 2006, 04:47 PM
Mature 3.5 year old Pere David deer stags weigh in at 250-275 lbs according to my rancher/raiser contact in Nebraska. The hinds (female) rarely exceed 175 lbs. These rare deer are gentically unlike any living deer species. They can not interbreed with any other species.

I've come across zero evidence that sika deer and red deer are compatible for cross-breeding. Where this comes from is unknown to me. FACT: Red deer and American elk interbreed quite commonly in the wild alpine meadows of New Zealand. This also occurs at some exotic game ranches in USA. These hybrids can not be entered into SCI, Records of Exotics, Rowland & Ward, B & C, or Pope & Young Record Books.

Red deer have thousands of small bumps on the antlers. American elk and hybrids do not have these bumps.