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This active tribe of animals principally inhabit wild and woody regions. In their contentions, both with each other and the rest of the brute creation, these animals not only use their horns, but strike very furiously with their fore feet. Some of the species are employed as beasts of draught, whilst the flesh of the whole is wholesome, and that of some of the kinds, under the name of "venison," is considered very delicious. Persons fond of hunting have invented peculiar terms by which the objects of their pursuit are characterized: thus the stag is called, the first year, a calf, or hind-calf; the second, a knobber; the third, a brock; the fourth, a staggard; the fifth, a stag; and the sixth, a hart. The female is, the first year, called a calf; the second, a hearse; and the third, a hind. In Britain, the stag has become scarcer than it formerly was; but, in the Highlands of Scotland, herds of four or five hundred may still be seen, ranging over the vast mountains of the north; and some of the stags of a great size. In former times, the great feudal chieftains used to hunt with all the pomp of eastern sovereigns, assembling some thousands of their clans, who drove the deer into the toils, or to such stations as were occupied by their chiefs. As this sport, however, was occasionally used as a means for collecting their vassals together for the purpose of concocting rebellion, an act was passed prohibitory of such assemblages. In the "Waverley" of Sir Walter Scott, a deer-hunting scene of this kind is admirably described.

The Fallow-Deer: This is the domestic or park deer; and no two animals can make a nearer approach to each other than the stag and it, and yet no two animals keep more distinct, or avoid each other with a more inveterate animosity. They never herd or intermix together, and consequently never give rise to an intermediate race; it is even rare, unless they have been transported thither, to find fellow-deer in a country where stags are numerous. He is very easily tamed, and feeds upon many things which the stag refuses: he also browzes closer than the stag, and preserves his venison better. The doe produces one fawn, sometimes two, but rarely three. In short, they resemble the stag in all his natural habits, and the greatest difference between them is the duration of their lives: the stag, it is said, lives to the age of thirty-five or forty years, and the fallow-deer does not live more than twenty. As they are smaller than the stag, it is probable that their growth is sooner completed.

The Roebuck: This is the _Certuscapreolus_, or common roe, and is of a reddish-brown colour. It is an inhabitant of Asia, as well as of Europe. It has great grace in its movements, and stands about two feet seven inches high, and has a length of about three feet nine. The extent of its horns is from six to eight inches.

The Stag: The stag, or hart, is the male of the red deer, and the hind is the female. He is much larger than the fallow-deer, and his age is indicated by his horns, which are round instead of being palmated, like those of the fallow-deer. During the first year he has no horns, but a horny excrescence, which is short and rough, and covered with a thin hairy skin. The next year, the horns are single and straight; and in the third they have two antlers, three the fourth, four the fifth, and five the sixth year; although this number is not always certain, for sometimes they are more, and often less. After the sixth year, the antlers do not always increase; and, although in number they may amount to six or seven on each side, yet the animal's age is then estimated rather by the size of the antlers and the thickness of the branch which sustains them, than by their variety. Large as these horns seem, however, they are shed every year, and their place supplied by new ones. This usually takes place in the spring. When the old horns have fallen off, the new ones do not make their appearance immediately; but the bones of the skull ore seen covered with a transparent periosteum, or skin, which enwraps the bones of all animals. After a short time, however, the skin begins to swell, and to form a sort of tumour. From this, by-and-by, rising from the head, shoot forth the antlers from each side; and, in a short time, in proportion as the animal is in condition, the entire horns are completed. The solidity of the extremities, however, is not perfect until the horns have arrived at their full growth. Old stags usually shed their horns first, which generally happens towards the latter end of February or the beginning of March. Such as are between five and six years old shed them about the middle or latter end of March; those still younger in the month of April; and the youngest of all not till the middle or latter end of May. These rules, though generally true, are subject to variations; for a severe winter will retard the shedding of the horns.

The Hind has no horns, and is less fitted for being hunted than the male. She takes the greatest care of her young, and secretes them in the most obscure thickets, lest they become a prey to their numerous enemies. All the rapacious family of the cat kind, with the wolf, the dog, the eagle, and the falcon, are continually endeavouring to find her retreat, whilst the stag himself is the foe of his own offspring. When she has young, therefore, it would seem that the courage of the male is transferred to the female, for she defends them with the most resolute bravery. If pursued by the hunter, she will fly before the hounds for half the day, and then return to her young, whose life she has thus preserved at the hazard of her own.

Venison.: This is the name given to the flesh of some kinds of deer, and is esteemed as very delicious. Different species of deer are found in warm as well as cold climates, and are in several instances invaluable to man. This is especially the case with the Laplander, whose reindeer constitutes a large proportion of his wealth. There--

"The reindeer unharness'd in freedom can play, And safely o'er Odin's steep precipice stray, Whilst the wolf to the forest recesses may fly, And howl to the moon as she glides through the sky."

In that country it is the substitute for the horse, the cow, the goat, and the sheep. From its milk is produced cheese; from its skin, clothing; from its tendons, bowstrings and thread; from its horns, glue; from its bones, spoons; and its flesh furnishes food. In England we have the stag, an animal of great beauty, and much admired. He is a native of many parts of Europe, and is supposed to have been originally introduced into this country from France. About a century back he was to be found wild in some of the rough and mountainous parts of Wales, as well as in the forests of Exmoor, in Devonshire, and the woods on the banks of the Tamar. In the middle ages the deer formed food for the not over abstemious monks, as represented by Friar Tuck's larder, in the admirable fiction of "Ivanhoe;" and at a later period it was a deer-stealing adventure that drove the "ingenious" William Shakspeare to London, to become a common player, and the greatest dramatist that ever lived.

Far, far away in ages past, our fathers loved the chase, and what it brought; and it is usually imagined that when Isaac ordered his son Esau to go out with his weapons, his quiver and his bow, and to prepare for him savoury meat, such as he loved, that it was venison he desired. The wise Solomon, too, delighted in this kind of fare; for we learn that, at his table, every day were served the wild ox, the roebuck, and the stag. Xenophon informs us, in his History, that Cyrus, king of Persia, ordered that venison should never be wanting at his repasts; and of the effeminate Greeks it was the delight. The Romans, also, were devoted admirers of the flesh of the deer; and our own kings and princes, from the Great Alfred down to the Prince Consort, have hunted, although, it must be confessed, under vastly different circumstances, the swift buck, and relished their "haunch" all the more keenly, that they had borne themselves bravely in the pursuit of the animal.

The New Venison: The deer population of our splendid English parks was, until a few years since, limited to two species, the fallow and the red. But as the fallow-deer itself was an acclimated animal, of comparatively recent introduction, it came to be a question why might not the proprietor of any deer-park in England have the luxury of at least half a dozen species of deer and antelopes, to adorn the hills, dales, ferny brakes, and rich pastures of his domain? The temperate regions of the whole world might be made to yield specimens of the noble ruminant, valuable either for their individual beauty, or for their availability to gastronomic purposes.

During the last four or live years a few spirited English noblemen have made the experiment of breeding foreign deer in their parks, and have obtained such a decided success, that it may be hoped their example will induce others to follow in a course which will eventually give to England's rural scenery a new element of beauty, and to English tables a fresh viand of the choicest character.

A practical solution of this interesting question was made by Viscount Hill, at Hawkestone Park, Salop, in January, 1809. On that occasion a magnificent eland, an acclimated scion of the species whose native home is the South African wilderness, was killed for the table. The noble beast was thus described:--"He weighed 1,176 lbs. as he dropped; huge as a short-horn, but with bone not half the size; active as a deer, stately in all his paces, perfect in form, bright in colour, with a vast dewlap, and strong sculptured horn. This eland in his lifetime strode majestic on the hill-side, where he dwelt with his mates and their progeny, all English-born, like himself." Three pairs of the same species of deer were left to roam at large on the picturesque elopes throughout the day, and to return to their home at pleasure. "Here, during winter, they are assisted with roots and hay, but in summer they have nothing but the pasture of the park; so that, in point of expense, they cost no more than cattle of the best description." Travellers and sportsmen say that the male eland is unapproached in the quality of his flesh by any ruminant in South Africa; that it grows to an enormous size, and lays on fat with as great facility as a true short-horn; while in texture and flavour it is infinitely superior. The lean is remarkably fine, the fat firm and delicate. It was tried in every fashion,--braised brisket, roasted ribs, broiled steaks, filet saute, boiled aitchbone, &c.,--and in all, gave evidence of the fact, that a new meat of surpassing value had been added to the products of the English park.

When we hear such a gratifying account of the eland, it is pleasing to record that Lord Hastings has a herd of the Canadian wapiti, a herd of Indian nylghaus, and another of the small Indian hog-deer; that the Earl of Ducie has been successful in breeding the magnificent Persian deer. The eland was first acclimated in England by the late Earl of Derby, between the years 1835-1851, at his menagerie at Knowsley. On his death, in 1851, he bequeathed to the Zoological Society his breed of elands, consisting of two males and three females. Here the animals have been treated with the greatest success, and from the year 1853 to the present time, the females have regularly reproduced, without the loss of a single calf.


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