Sika you will find
Shooting Times & Country|July 29, 2020
As prolific breeders that are happy to hybridise, sika deer pose a real threat to our native red deer population, says Megan Rowland
Megan Rowland

When I say ‘invasive non-native species’ the first thing to spring to your mind may be mink, the American signal crayfish or Rhododendron ponticum.

It probably isn’t Coco Chanel. A keen angler and worthy of more Shooting Times column space than I can offer, Chanel unknowingly has had a small role to play in the arrival into Sutherland of one of the most fascinating, resilient, prolific, challenging and tenacious nonnatives in Britain today: sika deer.

The 2nd Duke of Westminster began his affair with Coco Chanel in the 1920s. After spending time in Sutherland on his newly acquired Reay estate — where Chanel was reported by Winston Churchill to have caught some 50 salmon from the Laxford over two months — the Duke proceeded to buy Rosehall estate. Whether the deer park there I was established by previous owners or the Duke and Chanel in their efforts to renovate the property is unclear, but it provided a home to herds of red, fallow and sika for many years.

When the affair ended in 1929, the estate, its grounds and deer park fell into disrepair. With walls crumbling, the sika did what they do best — escape and thrive.

Cervus nippon are Asiatic deer. There are several subspecies depending on whether they originate in Japan, China, Taiwan or elsewhere and debate over whether the mainland deer are ‘pure’ sika or hybrids of red deer or wapiti.

Guile

Sika hinds generally stand around 50cm-60cm at the shoulder and stags 70cm-80cm — though stags may grow to 100cm-120cm. Anyone who hunts or manages sika will testify to their guile but also their adaptability— from feeding and diet, to mating strategies, to their social organisation.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM SHOOTING TIMES & COUNTRYView All

Anyone Fancy Coney Carbonara?

Cooking rabbit well can be a real challenge but with some expert advice our aspiring chef reckons he’s cracked it

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

How To Make Sure The Gunline Is In The Right Place

Liam Bell offers some guidance on how to make sure the gunline is in the right place

4 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

Wild greys need the ‘three-legged stool'

Successful reintroduction of our native partridge is complex and there are several things we can do to give it the best possible chance

5 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

Just another bloke on the Gun bus

George Browne crunches the numbers as he tries to build up a realistic pen portrait of the ‘ordinary shooting person’

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

Stalking Diary

There are some beasts that you simply cannot walk past and a redletter day on the hill with a former mentor ends with a perfect stalk

3 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

The ‘grey grouse' is a very fine pretender

Opportunities to take on the king of the gamebirds are few and far between, but the humble pigeon is a worthy stand-in for Blue Zulu

5 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

Find a fungi for that bunny

Rabbit, brown trout or venison pair beautifully with four of our tasty native mushrooms; John Wright simply has to pick the perfect wine

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

Terrierists at large

It would be almost unthinkable to go anywhere without the dogs but travelling with them is often a bit of a nightmare, says Petrel

5 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

Nippon out to bag a monster

The Ukrainian forests contain a subspecies of sika much bigger than our own — but they can be very hard to find, says Thomas Nissen

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021

Scottish gamekeepers oppose ban on lead

The SGA remains unconvinced by the evidence when it comes to how humane and safe non-toxic loads are for wildlife management

2 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
September 29, 2021
RELATED STORIES

The new ultra-fi

GRAMOPHONE DREAMS

10+ mins read
Stereophile
January 2022

Manufacturers' Comments

Vandersteen Quatro Wood CD and M5-HPA Thank you from all of us here at Vandersteen Audio for the great review by John Atkinson of our Quatro Wood CT speaker and M5-HPA high-pass amps.

7 mins read
Stereophile
December 2019

Shaky Sutherland At Death's Door!

Pals fear for star after multiple health woes

1 min read
Globe
September 30, 2019

Convicted drug dealer tells court: Gerbil did it

Witness tells of gangster's “confession'

2 mins read
Daily Record
January 29, 2022

ISHANI VELLODI REDDY

THE LUXURIES OF HER HIGH LIFE ASIDE, THE LONDON-BASED WELLNESS EXPERT GUIDES US ON THE NEED TO REDISCOVER OUR LOVE FOR LIFE AND LIVING IT RIGHT

6 mins read
Hello! India
December 2021

Invisible enemy

Robert Carlyle’s Prime Minister returns to battle a cyberattack in political thriller COBRA

3 mins read
TV & Satellite Week
October 09, 2021

Move In & Improve!

Sutherland’s first parsonage was meticulously restored to its former glory – then a ‘witch’ took up residence.

3 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

Our teachers were TOP of the class

They are people who tend to make a big impression on our lives and we never forget them. Derek James pays tribute to our teachers.

6 mins read
Let's Talk
October 2020

The Taste Case

If you haven’t tried wines from SA’s best-known cool-climate regions, it’s time to take a trip. Allan Mullins’ hand-picked selection includes a superb Iona Pinot Noir that’s only available at Woolies

2 mins read
Woolworths TASTE
August 2020

Uniforms of the “Highland Laddies” foreign service

Keith Nairn-Munro continues his series of articles on the Highland Regiments

8 mins read
Toy Soldier Collector International
August - September 2020