In this article you will learn everything you need to know about the Chinese water deer. You’ll learn how to identify, locate, hunt & cook the deer as well as more general interesting facts. This article is not just about how to hunt a Chinese Water Deer you’ll learn a lot more than that!
ABOUT THE CHINESE WATER DEER
The Chinese Water Deer is rather unusual to other deer as it doesn’t have any antlers, neither female or male. Another stand out interesting feature are their tusks. They protrude out from the deer giving them a rather eerie look. The deer are often referred to as vampire deer due to these tusks. However, the size of these tusks are looked at as trophy’s instead of the antlers by hunters. With the size of tusks being graded.
The Chinese Water Deer is a vulnerable species of deer. The Deer is a small deer and is native to China and Korea although the Korean and Chinese species are slightly different. However, in Britain where they have been imported they are thriving. So much so that this species is often hunted to keep it’s numbers from spreading to other parts of the country. Chinese Water Deer is highly valued by hunters in the UK for it’s taste.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CHINESE WATER DEER
As already mentioned the Chinese Water Deer is a small deer which are compact with large rounded ears and black eyes. To compare, it is smaller than a Roe deer but larger than a Muntjac deer. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between the sex of Chinese Water deer. The distinctive difference is the tusks that they grow. Males grow far larger tusks that protrude from their upper lip. Females have much smaller tusks that often do not protrude.
The deer have an average shoulder height of 45 – 65 cm and both males and females have similar weights. Males can get slightly larger but the fluctuations are that small they would be hard to notice. The Chinese Water deer have a lifespan of at least six years. But this life span can fluctuate mainly due to hunting and hard winters like most wildlife.
The Chinese water deer lives a solitary life although at certain times will be seen in small family groups. Or if there is a high density you will see them sharing the same feeding grounds with each other but not necessarily together. The Chinese water deer live in the UK due to being deliberately released from Whipsnade zoo in the 1900’s.
HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
The Chinese Water deer is native to China, Korea and has a strong population in the UK. The deer was first reported in the wild in 1945 where they were spotted in Buckingham-shire forest. From here they have spread into neighboring counties although not having as much success as the Muntjac deer which escaped around a similar time in the UK. This is down to it’s habitat.
The Chinese Water deer requires a specific habitat to live in. It prefers wetlands although it will stray onto nearby woodland and farmland if the habitat is favorable. In the UK the animal is most abundant in Norfolk. similarly in China the deer lives on the Yangtze river on the coastal wetlands. The Chinese water deer is quite a shy animal and it is said that habitats such as these provide safety and a quiet area. This way they can hide in the tall trees and rushes.
Chinese water deer are also very good swimmers which makes them perfect for living in the environments described. Other countries where there are small populations of the deer include, France, Argentina and the United States.
HUNTING & CONSERVATION OF CHINESE WATER DEER
How to hunt:
The Chinese water deer is mainly hunted in it’s native origin Korea and in the United Kingdom where it was released after being imported. The deer is hunted by using a rifle in both countries. A Firearms certificate and a minimum sized rifle caliber must be attained to hunt this deer. Also, local knowledge and access to the correct type of land or habitat is key. Because of its shy nature having someone with experience who knows exactly where the deer are is essential.
Reasons for hunting:
The Chinese Water deer is hunted to control it’s numbers in both countries. Although the reasons for controlling the numbers are slightly different. Like the Muntjac in the UK the Chinese water deer is being hunted to try and contain the numbers as it is an invasive species. The deer eat young trees and plants and can disrupt native bird nesting sights among other things. Also, there could be other problems with having this non native species in the UK that we do not yet understand. This is why like most invasive species they are considered unwelcome by ecologists.
The deer is hunted in South Korea due to its thriving populations and it is considered to be “harmful wildlife”. The population of Chinese Water deer in South Korea is thriving due to the extinction of its natural predators. Governments even offer bounties to have this animal culled to reduce numbers in certain areas.
The lack of natural predation in certain areas means humans have to intervene with the conservation of the animal. If populations are left un-checked most deer will breed to levels where their habitat cant sustain the population. When this happens you often get a large “die off” where local populations will normally die during the winter. This is due to the lack of nutrition the deer have gotten during summer months. Causing them to enter the winter months in poor condition. When the situation gets really bad deer will begin to suffer even during the summer months.
The main method used to control the deer populations is to hunt the deer. This is the most ethical and economically sound way of controlling them. While also enjoying the meat that is attained during the hunt. Deer meat is among the healthiest meat you can eat.
VIDEO OF HUNTING CHINESE WATER DEER
Here is a great video by “FieldSports Britain” on their YouTube channel showing you Chinese Water deer hunting in the UK.
CHINESE WATER DEER RECIPES
If you have the privilege of hunting your own Chinese Water deer then you will know it’s essential to consume the whole carcass. You appreciate the wild meat that you’ve just harvested far more than you would ever appreciate shop bought meat. If you cant access your own hunting then support your local game dealer and buy as much off him/her as you can.
There are so many benefits to eating deer meat! Not only is it proven to be much healthier for you than any shop bought meat. But it’s also ethically much better. You learn to appreciate every morsel because it’s such a personnel experience. You do not want to waste any of the beautiful Chinese Water deer you have just shot. That’s something that the general public have lost touch with and the key reason why there is so much food wastage. Other major benefits include, reduction in plastic, reduction in antibiotics and increase in animal welfare to name a few.
Anyway moving on to recipes here are a couple of websites that I have included that have several tasty meals that you can prepare:
THANK YOU FOR READING MY ARTICLE ON CHINESE WATER DEER
Thank you very much for reading this article and I hope it helps you with your exploits. Here at Jake’s Outdoors we are very passionate about our hunting, fishing and all things to do with outdoors. I believe our hunting and fishing community really is special and we experience things that others do not. I think its a very good thing if we can all share out experiences and connect with each other all over the world. This way our community is much stronger and we can better protect each other in this modern society where so many people have lost touch with the outdoors.
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