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Thread: Deer strategy for escape

  1. #1

    Deer strategy for escape

    I've been thinking about this recently and was wondering if anyone else can put me right.

    What is a deer's strategy for escape? I would guess that deer have evolved a strategy which ensures that they make the best of any chance to escape from a predator (that's me in the funny clothes trying to get the rifle off my back with one of the bipod legs stuck in a coat pocket) and that they probably apply when bumped by a stalker. As an example I've noticed that sika when you actually bump them by frightening them and they are sure you've seen them tend to run without any worry for the noise etc. but after a short distance they seem to slow up and then make a cautious, quiet disappearance. However, if they think you haven't seen them they will attempt to sneak off without giving you the chance to spot them. On the other hand sometimes, even when they are sure you've seen them, they will sit tight and just watch you and I suspect this mostly happens if they spot you first and have time to evaluate the threat before they think you've seen them.

    Does anyone know how they select a strategy for escape and if they have a fixed menu of escaoe routines?
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  2. #2
    just the million dollar question then... I have to say, i like it, however if i knew the (complete) answer i would be the worlds best stalker. i am far too modest to admit to that!!
    Big bloke... but outta shape

  3. #3
    Interesting, as my son and I were talking about this recently, whilst watching yet another roe's backside disappear. I suspect that quiet avoidance is the best strategy and the one most prey animals have evolved to use. We know that domestic animals have flight zones - you can approach so far without moving them, but once into that zone, they are off. Wise farmers have used this for years, just standing at the right place to move the beast quietly. It makes sense for a prey species to move away and then reassess the danger - is it real? If it is not, then there is no point expending valuable energy in running away, but they've kept the distance to a comfortable one in case they need a head start. There is also the issue of body language, somehow, we behave more threatening than at other times. I suspect the best stalkers are the once who do it nonchalantly!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    I've been thinking about this recently and was wondering if anyone else can put me right.

    What is a deer's strategy for escape? I would guess that deer have evolved a strategy which ensures that they make the best of any chance to escape from a predator (that's me in the funny clothes trying to get the rifle off my back with one of the bipod legs stuck in a coat pocket) and that they probably apply when bumped by a stalker. As an example I've noticed that sika when you actually bump them by frightening them and they are sure you've seen them tend to run without any worry for the noise etc. but after a short distance they seem to slow up and then make a cautious, quiet disappearance. However, if they think you haven't seen them they will attempt to sneak off without giving you the chance to spot them. On the other hand sometimes, even when they are sure you've seen them, they will sit tight and just watch you and I suspect this mostly happens if they spot you first and have time to evaluate the threat before they think you've seen them.

    Does anyone know how they select a strategy for escape and if they have a fixed menu of escaoe routines?

    I think (I think just me ) natures fight or flight policy just kicks in they dont have a choice do we ?

  5. #5
    "Security adaptations are so powerful they are the primary source of differences among deer" - Deer of the World, Valerius Geist. "Their escape strategy is apparently inherited and differences in tactics used to evade predators generate different habitat preferences and thus ecological segregation...." there's pages of this stuff. Basically, I read it as there are runners and jumpers. The runners tend to be herding animals that live in more open environments and simply leg it when threatened (Reds?). The jumpers tend to live in areas where they can leap over obstacles easily to put a barrier between them and any pursuing predator which knackers the pursuit (Roe?)

  6. #6
    As far as I have figured out the idea is to stand and try to work out what the threat is and then try to slope off without being noticed if that does not work RUN LIKE F**K
    AT THE AGE OF 50 I DECIDED I WAS GOING TO GROW OLD F***ING DISGRACEFULLY

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit Country View Post
    "Security adaptations are so powerful they are the primary source of differences among deer" - Deer of the World, Valerius Geist. "Their escape strategy is apparently inherited and differences in tactics used to evade predators generate different habitat preferences and thus ecological segregation...."
    That is interesting and was sort of what I was getting at. I think it is also interesting that the writer believes that escape from predators is the main difference between different deer as I would have expected food and shelter requirements to come further up the list.

    I guess that when it comes to the likes of red deer then the fact that they are a forest animal that has been forced onto the hill will have a significant impact upon their performance; their strategy might still be a forest one rather than one completely focused on escape on open ground. Just thinking aloud here but it is possible that they aren't as well adapted for escape on the open hill as some of the predator species the nutters are calling to be reintroduced are adapted to catching things on the open hill. It might be that wolves/lynx/T.rex and other reintroduction candidates have the potential to eliminate the red deer on the hill.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    I think it is also interesting that the writer believes that escape from predators is the main difference between different deer as I would have expected food and shelter requirements to come further up the list.
    I think what he's saying is that survival strategies have driven the evolutionary variations in deer. Food and shelter are essential requirements, but survival takes priority; after all you have to be alive to eat.

  9. #9
    When I read that it seemed to me like food and shelter might have come higher up the priorities, and therefore the drivers for adaptation, as missing out on either could make a deer as dead as any predator. I had never considered that it might make more sense to work on avoidance of predators above adapting to be better able to get food for example. It certainly gave me something to think about.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  10. #10
    There would be a lot more roe alive now if they did not have bright white back sides.

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