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Thread: How quick do Muntjac spread?

  1. #1

    How quick do Muntjac spread?

    Last Autumn the DCS sent round a circular to all the members of our local deer management group. It was suspected that a free-living population of Muntjac had been established just up the Strath from Beauly. The usual warnings about the damage to the natural heritage were given along with a request for information on sitings. I did not worry about this much myself as my woodland is mixed conifers and birch with little understory. It is ideal for Sika but would this area suit Muntjac? Then this year I joined a Pheasant shoot on the Black Isle and during the work days saw the huge woods bordering the grain fields filled with tangles of brambles, small shrubs of all kinds and bracken. Years ago when attending meetings it was often said that the Muntjac would do poorly in Scotland due to the snowfall but on the coast there that is not a problem. I wonder then could we have the potential for a fifth deer species here in the Highlands? I remember as a boy witnessing the spread of the Sika and how they blossomed in some areas yet avoided others. The spread was cyclical in that an area would be colonised by a few young stags first, then we would see a hind or two with calves. The population would rise relativly quickly then spill over into surrounding woods. Whether they stayed there depended on the make up of the wood. All very interesting. A lot of you I am sure will have witnessed first hand the spread of the Muntjac so I would be grateful for your observations. Thanks David.

  2. #2
    How fast do muntjac spread? I think a lot depends on whether you use the motorway or stick to A roads.

  3. #3

    You beat me to it..

    Still waiting for them to arrive in Poole and they have been in Salisbury, Redlynch and Damerham for a while. So working their way down


  4. #4
    Around me if you shoot one, two turn up to its funeral. Seen three tonight where l have shot 4 in as many weeks. I have to add that l'm clearing them for a farmer who will just let anyone do it if l dont do it in a humane way. So some Bucks are still in velvet - which is shame really but such is life!


  5. #5
    I dont know very much about them but I live on the edge of a heavily wooded area in Leicestershire and they have just reached us. I know of a local stalker who works for a forestry management company and has been told to shoot out any he sees. However he tells me he hardly ever sees them.
    Interestingly my place is only a couple of miles away from where he shoots and I see them frequently. In fact they are on the lawn on a regular basis.

  6. #6

    Muntjac spread

    The qiuckest I've seen a Muntjac spread was when my brother shot one with a 30.06!!
    Seriously though - I think it's quicker than people realise. If you look at the reproductive facts it is surprising even though they have single births (Muntjac 'Twins' is another debate!). Females are sexually mature within a year and give birth every 7 months for the rest of their lives. They have been known to live for up to 16 years in captivity and some would argue that they might live longer in the wild as natural food causes less tooth wear? If you do the maths on that fact alone it is staggering! It has been qouted that they are increasing in population by 8 % a year which doesn't sound much but again if you work it out compound, it means they will double in population every 9 years! I personally believe these figures may be an underestimate and the truth may be much higher as they always seem to do density counts in a particular area and don't take into consideration how far they have spread.
    I think they are great little animals but could become a major problem as there is no easy way of getting rid of them once they are fully established. What happens when they have reached the whole of the UK and cannot spread any further? Then we will really see a density increase!!

  7. #7
    Just look at the distribution maps and you will see how quickly they spread. There were almost no muntjac in Wales 15 years ago and now they are down the M4 corridor to the west coast and a few other areas but in unknown densities. It also depends how much help they get!

  8. #8
    Use this distribution map for reference.

    You can see buy the distribution map that small satellite populations have appeared in several very northern areas. Clearly they have been deliberate releases which established then spread out from there. Mammal groups who recreationally do surveys and record sightings often have good blogs. Loose guides suggest that Muntjac will spread 1-2km per where population is increasing and there is a supporting environment. They seem to travel successfully using any green corridor so motorway and railway banking plantation strips for example are a great help.

    There spread on itís own would be steady but slow. Deliberate help is the real reason why they are turning up everywhere. Honestly, I wish someone would let some go near me whatever anyone else says about bio diversity, invasive species or whatever blah.

    There arenít any confirmed cases of Muntjac in Scotland officially but I bet theyíre here soon.

  9. #9
    Thanks for your replies. I seems to me that Muntjac are an almost perfect quarry soecies. They have a quick reproductive cycle,are small enough for easy extraction and can tolerate high numerical densities. The only downside seems to be the lack of seasonality in their breeding which leads to welfare concerns on the culling of females. I get the message regarding spread but as it seems inevitable that all suitable habitat will be colonised eventually anyway I wouldnt condemn artificial relocation. Farmers and foresters would not agree maybe. As for no official reports of them in Scotland goes I think that if they came via the Ifor Williams route it would be kept quiet. I personally have seen Fallow in areas of Scotland where officially they dont exist. One more thing. What do they taste like compared withe other deer? Thanks again guys. David.

  10. #10
    how many muntjac do you think you can you get into the back of a discovery.

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