Seeking Out Sika Deer. 🦌

Unbeknown to me until recent times , the Gisburne Park estate in Gisburn is home to a herd of Sika Deer. The deer roam free and are wild, they are often spied in the local area. I had never seen one though…until now.

Sika deer were introduced into the UK from the Far East in 1860. And they were brought over to Gisburn from Ireland by Thomas Lister ‘ Lord Ribblesdale’ in the 19th century. The parks fallow deer herd had declined and it was hoped that the Sikas would make good sport. Lord Ribblesdale had a band of buckhounds used for hunting deer. All was looking good , but the imports were having none of it. They didn’t like hanging out in the open, and would make a dash into the trees if disturbed. Soon the Lord’s buckhounds were disbanded and the sika deer became feral. Their descendants roam the estate today.

Entrance lodges.
Fields of sheep.

Wandering round Gisburne Park early morning is a delight. Some areas are private but there are public footpaths through the grounds too. All was calm and peaceful and Hugo was able to have some off lead time. We saw several buzzards including one that landed in a tree just metres away and disturbed a long billed bird that flew out from the edge of the woodland into the fields.

A bonnie bridge.
Riverside House.
Hello Hugo.

Most exciting though was coming almost face to face with a stag, one of Lord Ribblesdales Sika Deer descendants! He stood his ground for quite a while, which gave me ample opportunity to take a couple of photos. As we quietly passed, he stamped his hoof and turned into the trees.

Our Sika deer are probably originally descended from Japanese sika deer.
The word sika comes from the Japanese word Shika ~ meaning deer.
Peering through the Catkins.
Handsome chap.

As Sika deer are an introduced species they are not protected wildlife. Their numbers are not encouraged, especially if in an area where there may also be native Red deer, which they sometimes breed with. As far as I’m aware, there are no red deer here so the sika are safe. 🙏

Gisburne Park mansion, now a private hospital.
Ivy on a stone post.
Daffodils on an old cottage door.

Do you have any deer living locally?

Thanks for dropping by. 🦌

27 thoughts on “Seeking Out Sika Deer. 🦌”

  1. We have Sika deer in the New Forest the population is kept to the south-east, between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu as there is a risk of cross-breeding with the native red deer. Locally to home, we have as you have seen in my blogs plenty of Roe deer.

    1. Fantastic, so nice that you have Sika nearby. You always get great photos of your local Roe deer. We have them here too, though I’ve only ever seen the females.

  2. We have mule deer and white tail deer. Sika deer are farmed on the west coast where the weather isn’t so severe. It’s been a tough winter for them but there were fresh tracks around my truck this morning. Maybe licking salt off the vehicle. 😊

    1. Just googled them and they are both gorgeous looking deer, the mule with their big ears and the white tail with , well, their white tails. 🙂 I do remember seeing mule deer in BC. Hope your deer visitor knows how to keep warm.

    1. Definitely..I am always torn in the case of grey squirrels and our native red squirrels for example. I live in a grey squirrel area ( no reds here) but our caravan is in the Eden Valley where there are both reds and Grey’s. You are supposed to report if you see a grey ( so they can be culled) to protect the reds. Nice that you have deer visiting in Glasgow too.

  3. Lovely post Sharon & you do have some lovely walks close by. Not seen any wild deer here for a while, but we do still have escapees from the colonial days living in our forested areas, both here in Victoria & N.S.W. Thanks for sharing, take care, stay safe & hugs.

  4. That was wonderful. I knew nothing of the Sika Deer at Gisburn. Will have to explore when I feel I can drive that far. The White Bull at Gisburn does good food when it is open again.

    1. It was our first drive out, 15 minutes away. Early morning so not many people about, hence the deer. If you read up about the estate, there used to be white bulls roaming the grounds too. 🙂

  5. Looks like a lovely place to visit and great to see the Sika deer in the wild. I’ve seen a small herd of them at a fairly local garden centre. They lived in a couple of fields next to the car park. I haven’t been there for ages so don’t know if they are still there:)

  6. we have a couple of Roe deer that quietly wander through the nature reserve first thing in the morning before it gets too busy with dog walkers and some in the Wycoller valley – they are all very shy. However, I did not know about the Sika at Gisburne Park 🙂

  7. Super Sika deer pics my dear! Dead sheep washed up on the beach the other day. Council scooped it up and guess where they put it? In the sea. 🙄 No doubt I’ll be seeing it again soon!

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