View Full Version : Axis or Chital deer Facts & Photos

Jack O'Conner
February 2, 2006, 09:21 PM




These amazing deer originate from Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Ceylon. Some consider this deer to be the most beautiful of all but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Introduced to Texas nearly 60 years ago and further introduced to Florida, population in North America is estimated at 50,000. That's a lot of axis deer! Many years ago, breeding pairs were illegally introduced to Pt. Reyes Nat'l Seashore in northern California. The Park Service is currently deciding their fate.

Axis bucks grow their first antlers at age one (1), irregardless of month. They also rut at this time. So in a large herd several bucks may be antlerless, velvet, or hard horned depending upon birthdate. Odd but true. Yet reportedly in Texas, most rutting is performed May-July.

Size of mature axis bucks compare to northern whitetail deer. 175-200 lbs is common. But their digestive systems are more complex and they thrive on common grasses. Where whitetails and axis co-exist, they do not appear to compete for food.

A good buck has antlers measuring 30 inches or more. But I've observed mounted bucks that measured 28.5 X 28.75 that looked impressive to my eyeballs. So this 30 inch rule is not hardfast, in my opinion. You're allowed to disagree.

Trophy hunting is available at many exotic ranches. But understand that these tropical deer can not survive northern winters. For example, if you find a hunting ranch in Vermont offering axis, they've been trucked in from somewhere else.

As best hunting is reputed to be May-July, I like to daydream of a family vacation in the south with axis hunting for Dad!

February 3, 2006, 09:08 PM
Those are abso;utely beautiful. Are they a herd animal or roam singly also? I'll never get to Texas or Florida for a hunt, but if the wild population spreads I have one grandson who looks like he is going to be a hunter. Too bad they can't winter as far north as Southern Indiana. It looks like thare are some exotic (to us) species which wouldn't compete for forage with native species.