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Thread: Fallow leks

  1. #1

    Fallow leks

    I've been on here for a few years now & can't recall much discussion on leking behaviour of fallow deer. I've read plenty about them becoming a pest, causing crop damage, vehicle collisions & about the price per pound, but not much on this breeding strategy which Dama start to employ when the population begins to reach a reasonable density. Has anyone witnessed a true lek, or leking behaviour in fallow deer in the UK?

    Sharkey
    "Men Who Stare at Deer."

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Care to describe the situation, 10, 20 30 or more bucks in what size area? What sort of protection/management were the deer afforded to allow such densities?

    Sharkey
    "Men Who Stare at Deer."

  4. #4
    I think it is fair to say it happens with all Fallow despite the density. The only difference is that in a high density environment, a master buck will have an established rutting stand, then surrounding him will be a ring of satellite stands of lesser bucks. The does then have to 'run the gauntlet' so to speak to try and get in to the master buck. Some of the younger bucks will invariably get lucky!
    MS

  5. #5
    Never heard it called 'lekking' before.

    Is that wot u call the rut in Oz? I know in NZ tend to call it the roar.

  6. #6
    Lekking can be very dependent on what the year has been like for natural food.

    I have found that in a year where there is a lot of mast, acorns or chestnuts the bucks will hold a stand there because the does are there feeding. He will hold that stand for the duration of the rut if he's a big master buck. You can shoot smaller bucks off his stand in the morning and come back that evening and he'll be back. Whereas if it is a poor year food wise you see much less lekking behaviour, you cant rely on bucks holding a stand, although you will still get a bit of burping.

    I would say that in my experience rather than finding a stand and drawing does to it by grunting a big buck will find does and then start grunting. I think lekking is more dependant on the does than the bucks.
    Last edited by jubnut; 17-02-2015 at 19:36.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by countrryboy View Post
    Never heard it called 'lekking' before.

    Is that wot u call the rut in Oz? I know in NZ tend to call it the roar.

    Lekking is a breeding strategy, Capercaile do it too.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Spanker View Post
    I think it is fair to say it happens with all Fallow despite the density. The only difference is that in a high density environment, a master buck will have an established rutting stand, then surrounding him will be a ring of satellite stands of lesser bucks. The does then have to 'run the gauntlet' so to speak to try and get in to the master buck. Some of the younger bucks will invariably get lucky!
    MS
    Average nightclub in Essex on a Saturday night.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by countrryboy View Post
    Never heard it called 'lekking' before.

    Is that wot u call the rut in Oz? I know in NZ tend to call it the roar.
    No mate.

    When the population density of bucks gets beyond a point many of the bucks start lekking behaviour. Typically a lek will be 2/3 of the way up to the top of a small hill with a good aspect over a feeding area/home range of the does. It may be as large as 3 acres with 40 or 50 bucks establishing one or more scrapes in this area. The does will visit the lek & although they may show promiscuous behaviour they still are able to choose & stand for the buck they select. It is believed that it improves sexual selection for this species.

    If the density is low then they won't lek & will just form several scrapes (stands) & these may be a few meters or several hundred meters apart. With this strategy the buck will roam more & actively seek the does rather than the inverse. This requires more effort, increases risk from predation & sees fewer does filled by the master bucks & more by subordinates.

    I just assumed that given the comments by some of high fallow populations in parts of the UK that there may be a few leks about & some may have experienced these during the rut. If you have seen, smelt & heard one, you will not forget it soon. I know of two leks in Australia which occur each year. Both of these are on private property & the deer are managed as a hunting resource. The odd lek will occur here & there if the localised population erupts, but most land owners/managers can't or won't tolerate the densities of deer needed to support a lek, so they are rare.

    Several species of antelope will also lek, but its nowhere near as spectacular as a fallow lek if one gets going.

    Sharkey
    "Men Who Stare at Deer."

  10. #10
    Never heard of that before and was just checking it wasnae a language thing Would be some sight to see

    I run a shoot on an estate with very high numbers of fallow but i'd be amazed (no doubt about to be proved wrong) in anywhere in the uk has a large enough population and density esp when ur talking of groups of 30+ bucks.
    Not unusual to see 100 does or does and some bucks in groups at places but usually the buck groups are much smaller, usually 15-20 but often split up around the rut to form stands like u say.

    Wot sort of density do u need to start this behavior 100+ per sq km?

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