At Gillian Kyle we have a passion for the wildlife of Scotland! Its a big inspiration in Gillian's work and appears on many of our unique Scottish gift ideas. In this blog we thought we would give our visitors a wee insight into the lives of our truly magnificent Scottish Red Deer.
Red Deer have roamed wild and free on the moorlands of Scotland for a (pretty amazing) 10,000 years! With their majestic antlers and potent mixture of strength and grace, these beautiful animals are a real symbol of Scotland for me, and play a huge part in my collections.
Recently, one of the most recognisable and reproduced paintings of Scotland, and possibly the most famous deer painting ever, Sir Edwin Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen, was acquired for the country after a £4m fundraising campaign. Fantastic news for Scotland and wonderful to have this powerful cultural symbol of Scotland secured for the nation.
Did you know that males (stags) and females (hinds) live in separate herds and the females are smaller than their male counterparts? The mating (the rut ) takes place from the end of September until November. The stags compete fiercely over the eligible fiercely often with fatalities, with the dominant stag building a harem of up to 20 hinds. The hinds usually have one calf every other year. The calfs are born in June and can stand within half an hour of birth and follow the herd within 3 to 4 weeks.
Mr Stag's Reflection Suitcases. Other colours available here
Young calves are sometimes killed by foxes or eagles but adult Red Deer have no predators apart from humans as the wolf their natural predator became extinct in Scotland over 200 years ago. The young stags stay with the hind herds for up to 3 years when they leave to establish their position in the stag herds. Only the stags have antlers and they fall off every spring being replaced quickly by new ones. The biggest herds live on high open moorland in the summer months where they eat all kinds of plants, berries ,grasses ,mosses and lichens. They come down to the lower grounds in the winter.
Tartan Stag Fudge Tin £9.95
With the increased popularity of Deer stalking in Scotland their numbers have increased from about 150,000 to around 300,000 and culling has become necessary to restore the balance between the Deer and their environment. Weak ,old or injured Deer are culled to help the rest of the herd to survive.
Visitors to Scotland's Highlands would be very unlucky not to spot a few of our national treasures on their travels and as Deer farming is now a growing industry in Scotland, venison is on the menu in most of our restaurants and is a delicious and nutritious low fat delicacy.
If you also have soft spot for the Monarch of the Glen, I've rounded up my favourite antler-related Gillian Kyle pieces into a staggeringly handsome collection (ok, ok, thats the end of the Stag puns)...