Record Red Stag

paul k

Well-Known Member
#1
I was in Devon on business recently and was close to the Endsleigh House hotel which is the current location of the UK record wild red stag head. I decided to go and try and have a look at it and the hotel staff very kindly let me see and photograph the head.

I have seen photos of the head before in the late G. Kenneth Whitehead's books but you cannot get the true impression of just how massive this animal was until you see the head for real.

The thing that strikes you most is the girth of the beams, I would have trouble in getting my hand halfway around the main beam between the bez and trez tines.

For those that are interested I took a couple of photos, one is of the animal's final 20 point head (1950) which was probably going back slightly and the other is of the cast antlers from 1947 which is probably a nicer head. The angle on the photo of the full head does not give you a proper impression of the length of the beams which is around 45".





It would have scored a minimum of 224.5 CIC and it is sobering to think that a Cornish stag was shot in 2005 that pushed this to within 9 points and maybe from not too far away.
 

JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
#2
Thank you Paul, those are very nice photo's. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of wild Red stags, but never anything to come close to that.

John
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#4
For those that don't know the history of this magnificent animal it lived on the Duke of Bedford's Endsleigh estate in the middle Tamar valley for many years and yet was hardly ever seen.

Single cast antlers were picked up on the estate for 1943 - 46 and 1949 and both antlers were found for 1947 (21 points) and 1948 (20 points).

The one cast antler found in 1949 carried 12 perfect points and this may well have been his best head at possibly 24 points. This single antler weighed just over 9lbs.

The CIC score of 224.5 is not official as the head was already mounted and could not be weighed. An estimate of 9.2 kg was used being the weight of the cast left antler doubled plus 0.96 kg and which was possibly on the conservative side as the 1950 head was slightly larger than the 1949 antler.

Despite placing hinds from Woburn in an enclosure to try and tempt him in he was seen rutting most years at Werrington Park just north of Launceston. In 1950 he rutted at Werrington as usual but returned to Endsleigh and jumped straight into the enclosure with the hinds. Sadly he had injured his neck in the act of jumping in and succumbed to the injury a few days later. He was estimated at 12 to 14 years old at that time.

It is amazing that a stag of this size could remain virtually undetected and unseen for so much of his life. Hopefully his genes are still in the local population and who knows, may have played a part in that monster Cornish stag.
 

geoshot

Well-Known Member
#7
Great post PaulK!
Really enjoyed those photos and the history to back them up.
Another cracking read on this forum!

Ta
Geo
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#8
Boghossian said:
What a beaut!

Does anyone stalk in the region? Where are the best genes for woodland reds in England?
Much of the Tamar valley is private and not a lot of public stalking goes on there, there have been other very large stags from the area over the years but not too many with very large numbers of points.

To answer the question of where the best genes for woodland stags are in England is very difficult. The two largest stags on record come from Devon/Cornwall, possibly both from the Tamar valley and this population is probably the least affected by introduced or escaped park stock. I'm not exactly sure where the recent near record Cornish stag came from but the Cornish side of the Tamar valley is an option.

There have been a few 14 - 16 pointers and even larger but with often long and symetrical beams which make them the nicest looking heads. Body weights in Devon occasionally get into the 500lb range which make them truly magnificent animals and not easily forgotten when you have been in close proximity to them.

There are some huge stags in East Anglia, mostly Norfolk but also Suffolk and Lincolnshire, and they trace their genetic line back to Warnham Park and Woburn deer left out over the years by the now defunct Norwich Staghounds. As most people know Warnham Park deer carry the largest heads in Western Europe (and much of the East as well), certainly in terms of the number of points. Many Norfolk reds are multi-pointed if not overly attractive and this is typical of Warnham blood.

Quite a few of the newer populations of reds around England and Wales originate from escaped farm stock which in turn often include Warnham blood and other good quality park blood. There was a silver medal from Wales a couple of years ago.

Warnham genes also heavily influence the reds of the New Forest where there are also some very fine heads.

I think that the answer must be Norfolk simply because Warnham stags have the best genes and they manifest themselves more there than anywhere else but in terms of unaudulterated and beautiful heads it must be the Devon/Cornwall border stags that are the best.
 

stone

Well-Known Member
#9
hi paul
sorry to test your knowledge but would you know the history of the reds found in the macclesfield area(peak district) as to where they may of originated from as i shot a nice 12pointer there last october the one in my members photo file ,as the stalker said that was the biggest that had come off his ground and the surrounding area that he could recall and i just wondered is it worth getting measured or not
the body weight was 375 pounds approx and neck girth 38 inch approx
many thanks stone
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#10
stone said:
hi paul
sorry to test your knowledge but would you know the history of the reds found in the macclesfield area(peak district) as to where they may of originated from as i shot a nice 12pointer there last october the one in my members photo file ,as the stalker said that was the biggest that had come off his ground and the surrounding area that he could recall and i just wondered is it worth getting measured or not
the body weight was 375 pounds approx and neck girth 38 inch approx
many thanks stone
It's possibly Warnham blood again! It depends where in relation to Macclesfield your deer was shot. If it was to the south then the origins are probably Warnham.

In 1937 a local landowner with a name far too long to write here obtained a stag and three hinds from Warnham and released them in an enclosure at Swythamley near the Roches north of Leek. During the war the fences were damaged and they escaped onto the Roches to form the current population based there.

It is quite likely that other deer in the Macclesfield area originated from escapees from Lyme Park or Moor Park to the North East of Macclesfield as deer escaped from both of these when snow drifts against the fences provided an escape route. If your deer was from the area NE of Macclesfield it is probable that they came from Lyme/Moor Parks and these originated from wild deer enclosed in the 14th century.

If your deer was from the Goyt valley it could have originated from either source.

It is also known that in 1976-77 the North West Water Authority released 10 hinds to join the stags already present on their land on the Cheshire/Derby border. I don't know the origin of these hinds.

I'm not sure if any reds ever escaped from Chatsworth but they might also have an influence.
 

Beowulf

Well-Known Member
#11
Thanks for the info Paul. I have stalked around the Devon side of the Tamar and those Reds are very impressive. I once put my cross hairs on a large Royal Dartmoor Stag, the stalker I was with nearly had a fit! 'What are you doing, you can't afford him'! 'I know' I said 'but looking costs nothing'. I just wanted to hold that beautiful beast in my cross hairs and dream. :D
 

Fester

Well-Known Member
#12
Very nice looking head.
Has anyone seen the stag David stretton has in his dining room on the wall :???: Boy thats a big head. I cant remember how many points exactly but very impressive indeed. I know its a park deer but its still very nice. It was killed in the rut from what i had heard & david decided to get it done :D
 

stone

Well-Known Member
#13
thanks paul
with so many different strains to choose from this beast could be a mixture of a few the nearest land mark is wildboars clough but was the biggest red i hav ever seen/shot
so one happy stalker
one very happy stone
 

JH83

Well-Known Member
#14


Paul,

Had this old boy in the Lake District area last year. He was 350lb totally run, so I would imagine he would of been pretty substancial! That is me looking pretty happy with myself! :D

In the same area a 20 point beaut was wounded by poachers and died, a real tradgedy, they were using 22 cf with night vision and the stag was found a day or so later.

Where do you think the origionated from, I would assume they are native but the body weights are pretty high so I am not sure.

Cheers,

James.
 

MR FISH

Well-Known Member
#15
Steyr243,

I did my level 1 with David Stretton and i remember very well the intimidating look that stag was giving me whilst i was nervously doing the written exam!!

Mr Fish
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#16
stone said:
thanks paul
with so many different strains to choose from this beast could be a mixture of a few the nearest land mark is wildboars clough but was the biggest red i hav ever seen/shot
so one happy stalker
one very happy stone
I've driven pretty close that spot several times on my way over to Sheffield and often wondered what was in there. It's pure guess work but I would reckon that your animal was almost certainly from the Warnham stock on the Roches than from the Moor Park stock. I think that there is some limestone in that area which would promote good antler growth.

The NW Water Board animals may also have an influence as it was not too far from there that they were introduced.

I had another look at it and it is a real belter!
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#17
jameshodgson said:
Paul,

Had this old boy in the Lake District area last year. He was 350lb totally run, so I would imagine he would of been pretty substancial! That is me looking pretty happy with myself! :D

In the same area a 20 point beaut was wounded by poachers and died, a real tradgedy, they were using 22 cf with night vision and the stag was found a day or so later.

Where do you think the origionated from, I would assume they are native but the body weights are pretty high so I am not sure.

Cheers,

James.
That's a beautiful beast.

The Lake District red deer are almost completely unaudulterated with imported blood lines and so it's almost certainly of pure native stock which along with those in the Exmoor area are the longest continuous bloodlines of any English red deer population.

The reds in woodland areas often grow to a much larger size than their moorland dwelling neighbours and those of south Lakeland are also noted for wide spreads with many points. I have a video of a TV programme about the late John Cubby and there is a shot of an absolutely magnificent stag in the woods there at Grizedale.

Interestingly it's also reckoned, together with neighbouring Northumbria, to be the only area in England where roe never quite died out in the wild.
 

JH83

Well-Known Member
#18
Paul,

Thanks for the input. Its funny that you mention limestone as the area I got this stag is predominanatly limestone and this must be a contributing factor. The heaviest stag I have heard of in the south Lakes was a massive 34 stone live weight, yet was a four pointer!

The roe from the same patch however are distinctly average, so there must be something that reds metabolise that roe cant.

Cheers

JH.
 

zaitsev

Well-Known Member
#19
It may be something to do with the way in which the animals feed. Reds predominantly graze which may mean that they ingest more soil which in turn may mean that they take up more mineral from that. Roe browse predominantly which may mean that they are less likely to ingest soil and so are reliant on the trace elements actually in the browse.
Just a hypothesis so if anyone actually knows how the mechanism works I would be very interested. James: that stag wasn't from Lowther by any chance was he?

Cheers

z
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#20
zaitsev said:
It may be something to do with the way in which the animals feed. Reds predominantly graze which may mean that they ingest more soil which in turn may mean that they take up more mineral from that. Roe browse predominantly which may mean that they are less likely to ingest soil and so are reliant on the trace elements actually in the browse.
Just a hypothesis so if anyone actually knows how the mechanism works I would be very interested. James: that stag wasn't from Lowther by any chance was he?

Cheers

z
Aren't the Lowther reds more hill animals than woodland? I know that they have had some big beasts there though.

I've stalked roe there but never reds.
 

Top