Sika/Red Hybrids.

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I`ve just been trawling the net and came across a piece from the dated 2001 titled-
"Scotlands deeer under threat"
Basically, it goes on to say that a studies over a five year period revealed that 10% of Scotlands Red Deer contain Sika genes, rising to 40% in areas such as Argyle.
It then goes on to say that 1 in 1000 deer is born a hybrid in regions where Reds and Sika overlap.

Have any of you that stalk in Scotland ever shot a Deer which you thought was Red/Sika ish?


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In over 25 years of managing areas in the highlands I have personally only shot two that where first year crosses. Although I have seen Sika stags running with Red Hinds on the open hill on a number of occassions.

First year cross has the body of a young Red Spiker but in the two I shot they were darker, the face is shorter although the neck looked like a Red. The caudiale patch is generally white like a sika and not cream like a Red and in the two I have taken did not extend over and onto the back as Reds do. At a distance they appear like a young red stag, as the antlers on the first one were a good size. However the second one was shot on a turnip field in an area that at the time had very few Sika showing, and that was just a spike head. The first one was taken very near to where all the Sika originate from in that area of Sutherland.

It is mostly the Sika stags that turn up first in new areas, and it is these that mate with red hinds, I do not think Red stags mate with Sika hinds :eek: plus the Sika rut can carry on from early September through to late November some years, and any red hind in season early or late is fair game I would think. I also believe that where you have good numbers of Sika hinds, Sika stags will not bother red hinds to much. I managed 12500 acres for 9 years with good numbers of both species and never saw one hybrid, and never any attempt at Sika to hybridise with a Red during the rut or at any other time. Most of the time the two species kept apart from each other.

What I will say is that to me wherever Sika are in good numbers the Roe start to disapear over a period of years. The glen where I stalk had good numbers of Roe 30 to 35 years ago, now you will be lucky to see one. And there are lots of Sika.


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in wicklow our sika came from powerscourt estate a stag and two hinds were the start of it . these animals in time hybridised with reds also keep in the deer park ,so reds sika and hybrids were released into the wild .it is not common to see a sika stag holding hybrid hinds . but you will see a sika hind running with a group of hybrids occasionally.the hybrids in wicklow are red like in behaveor and apperance ,in good weather will live as high on the hill as they can get away from every thing .the biggest group of hybrids i have seen was 170 about the years ago .

paul k

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sikamalc said:
It is mostly the Sika stags that turn up first in new areas, and it is these that mate with red hinds, I do not think Red stags mate with Sika hinds .

As far as I know this is correct.


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Sika/Red hybrids do not conform to any special appearance as they are not genuine F1 hybrids .
They are a mongrel race which provide good venison and excellent sport.
They may be genetically 90% Sika and 10% Red or any other combination but adult Stags usually have one thing in common, a nose bone shorter than a Red yet longer than a Sika.
Over a 35 year period I shot quite a few Sika , some Reds and also a few interesting hybrids in Wicklow.
My old friend the late Andy Morrissey [edited, I had put Morrison !]
had the mounted head of the first hybrid released on to Kippure .
Generally if plenty of Red stags are about during the rut there will be no problem with hybridisation , it occurs when a randy Sika stag finds Red hinds with no Red stag in attendance.
Below is a picture of a set of Sika/Red antlers taken off a Stag shot by myself which had the appearance of a Sika yet had the caudal patch similar to that of a Red.
The nose bone is about 10.5 cm long , a true intermediate.
The prominent beam ridges of a mature Sika are present but the pedicles are longer and thinner than those of a Sika.




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Sika/Red Hybrid

Very interesting information from everyone !
Just to add that due to the hybridisation of reds on mainland Britain, the deer on Rum should be managed very carefully and not reduced too much for the sake of trees.


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Thanks to all for the replies, i must admit i am finding this quite fasinating. I don`t see any other deer other than Roe so if any one has any photos they can put up i`d be very gratefull.
Thanks, basil.


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The deer on Rum are not exempt from hybridisation as deer are able to swim on and off the island. The only ones that will stay truely red will be the ones on the outer hebrides.



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Thanks for all those photos guys, i should have explained myself a bit better. I meant photos of a Sika/Red hybrid!! My own fault. :lol:


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since i read this thread, i hav been going through all my photo's looking for the 2 sika/red hybrids i shot in argyll a couple of years ago
from memory
a sika hind i shot was 48lbs larder weight
a sika stagg was 75lbs larder weight
and the 2 hybrids were 75lbs +80lbs larder weight approx
i shall search a bit further


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Growing up in Galloway we did see some first generation crosses in the 80's. As Sikamalc said it always seemed to be where a wandering (both old in our case) had wandered on to red ground.

Why the crossing is less evident now I don't know - perhaps because there is dilution already (the FC DNA says is the case). Certianly carcase weights have dropped over the past 15 years and - it's the dorsal stripe that show up on red hinds now and again.

The FC now have a red-deer conservation area at Clatteringshaws and efforts are in place to keep the area west of that free of Sika but obviously with continous conifer cover it's very hard.

Now living in north Lancs near the Cumbria border and the locals don't seem to be too concerned with the - now prevelant cross over - I'd like to see 2 lines drawn (one is too thin!) where red & sika are actively restricted below/above.


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Funny you should say that, I was on Taransay this summer and stayed with the family who own the island. They told me that when they bought a stag and 2 hinds many years ago, and released them on the island the stag swam over to the mainland and was shot by the local minister.
I suppose your right, they could swim over to Rum, interesting thoughts.
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