Muntjac – Muntiacus reevesi

Open Season in England in WalesMuntjac buck

There is no closed season for Muntjac due to their ability to breed all year round.

As part of an ethical policy for managing Muntjac it is recommended the when culling does that only immature or heavily pregnant does are selected to avoid leaving dependant young

The Muntjac is the UK’s smallest deer, only introduced into Woburn Park in the 1890’s. Despite this late introduction it is believed to be the most numerous deer species in the UK.

Their preferred foods are ivy, bramble, coppice shoots, flowers and seeds of many plants, also fruit, nuts, dead leaves, fungi and market garden produce. They seem to be primarily animals of dense woodland, although analysis of the occurrence of sightings suggest their habitat preferences are very catholic.

Muntjac are territorial and the social unit is a family group with young adults being driven off before the arrival of the next fawn. Males make large scrapes and fray on low branches using their tusks, not their antlers. The tusks are the muntjac’s primary waepons, showing its primitive ancestry. Both sexes bark like a small dog at intruders, often continuing for many minutes.

They produce single fawns every seven months, gestation is 210 days and lactation six to eight weeks. Mating follows quickly after parturition. Owing to this speed of reproduction the population of Muntjac can increase very quickly and a policy of ethical management is recommended to avoid issues of over population.

Pelage changes (spring and autumn) and, to some extent, antler growth (most adult bucks are in velvet in early summer) have adapted to the British climate.

Game shooting has without doubt been a huge help to the Muntjac expansion, with the managed game woods offering plenty of shelter and protection plus of course the provision of high energy food during the winter months intended for the game birds.

Muntjac doeAs can be seen from the photograph, Muntjac are a small, stocky deer with a sleek, russet-brown summer pelage which darkens to grey-brown in winter. Bucks have long pedicles extending to facial ridges, carry short antlers up to 10cm and exhibit visible upper canines.