What's the difference between a buck and stag

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Bushpig

Distinguished Member
I've heard both these terms used often, both here and in South Africa, but is there any technical difference between the two? And how did the two different terms come about?
 

flyingfisherman

Well-Known Member
No idea about the origin of either word but the two words relate to males of different species. For instance, here in the UK, Red deer are stags and hinds where as roe are bucks and does.
 

Bushpig

Distinguished Member
But there seems to be some variation. For example, in South Africa fallow bucks are called stags.
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
The terminology applied in the UK is usually Red & Sika males are stags, - fallow, roe, muntjac & CWD will be referred to as bucks.
​Red & sika female will be known as hinds, with the other species females known as does. ATB
 

Bushpig

Distinguished Member
A non-stalker has given me the answer. It is to do with size: in South Africa smaller animals (like impala) are called rams and ewes, larger are bucks, and the largest (kudu, eland) are bulls and cows. In the UK smaller species like fallow are bucks, and larger, like red deer are stags. Unusually, in South Africa we call fallows bucks 'stags', I guess because they're European so we use a European term, but chose the wrong one!
 

JabaliHunter

Well-Known Member
I have not heard of fallow being called stags - I think that is a regional colloquialism (i.e. they got the name wrong! ;) ). I was always taught that male fallow were called (according to age)
1st year - fawn
2nd year - pricket
3rd year - sorrel
4th year - sore
5th year - buck (sometimes buck of the first head);
6th year - great buck


I think most antelope are called rams and ewes - they are not deer and like sheep have horns rather than antlers.
Bull and cow are names which come from cattle and so these common names where probably attributed to large deer and antelope because of the size of the beast. Whether it is correct or not is a different matter - for example a Maral is essentially the same animal as a wapiti or american elk, but the former is a stag and the latter a bull.
Lets not even get started on why on earth an elk in Sweden is not an elk in north america, but rather a moose!
But as to stag and buck, this may have had something to do with the esteem with which the animal was held as a hunting quarry and also the class of person hunting them - after all a rabbit is also a buck and doe and roe deer did not really have the status and protection of a 'game' species until sometime in the 1960s...
 
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willie_gunn

Well-Known Member
I have not heard of fallow being called stags - I think that is a regional colloquialism (i.e. they got the name wrong! ;) ). I was always taught that male fallow were called (according to age) 1st year - fawn 2nd year - pricket 3rd year - sorrel 4th year - sore 5th year - buck (sometimes buck of the first head); 6th year - great buck I think most antelope are called rams and ewes - they are not deer and like sheep have horns rather than antlers. Bull and cow are names which come from cattle and so these common names where probably attributed to large deer and antelope because of the size of the beast. Whether it is correct or not is a different matter - for example a Maral is essentially the same animal as a wapiti or american elk, but the former is a stag and the latter a bull. Lets not even get started on why on earth an elk in Sweden is not an elk in north america, but rather a moose! But as to stag and buck, this may have had something to do with the esteem with which the animal was held as a hunting quarry and also the class of person hunting them - after all a rabbit is also a buck and doe and roe deer did not really have the status and protection of a 'game' species until sometime in the 1960s...

To follow on, female Fallow are traditionally called:

1st year - fawn
2nd year - tegg
3rd year - doe

And male roe are traditionally called:

1st year - kid
​2nd year - gyrle
3rd year - hemuse
4th year - roebuck

So far as the etymology, both words can be traced back to Old English and before that from Old Norse and/or Old German.

​willie_gunn
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
Genus Cervus are known as Stags in the UK: i.e. Red and Jap Sika are both genus Cervus therefore Stags and hinds. On the other hand all other deer in the U.K are not genus Cervus and are therefore Bucks and Doe's.

South Africa if I remember rightly is Ram, Buck, Bull. i.e. Impala Ram right up to Kudu bull.
 
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