Beechground Outfitters


Maryland's Sika deer are native to Western Asia and first appeared on Maryland's Eastern Shore, mainly in Dorchester County, sometime after they were originally imported to James Island in 1916 by Clement Henry. Sika Deer (Cerus Nippon Nippon) today inhabit some of the lower Eastern Shore Counties with its most predominant population in the marshes and wetlands of Southern Dorchester County. They have also established populations on Assateaque Island where they were released in the 1920s by private citizens. Lesser populations can be found in Somerset and Wicomico Counties.
 


Hunters interested in harvesting this elusive miniature Elk-like exotic of Maryland will find the field dressed weight of females to run between 45 and 55 pounds. The larger males rarely exceed 100 pounds. A six pointer (three x three) is considered a trophy Stag and some eight pointers, though rare, are found in the area. Color ranges from brown to almost black, some with white spots down their back. They have a round white rump area, similar to Antelope, that flares when they are excited or alarmed. Males generally have a dark shaggy mane running down their neck. Sika deer are noctural and inhabit marshy terrain, making hunting them a true challenge.

The Sika rut occurs in the mid-October timeframe and is considered the best time to harvest a mature Stag. During this period males become very vocal by bugling, primarily late afternoon through early morning. All Sika sound a sharp bark like sound when alarmed. They become very territorial, gather a harem (12 - 18) and mark their territory by making wallows (scrapes) that they urinate in, then wallow in it causing them to produce a very strong odor. The rut generally results in increased movement by the males, allowing these Stags to be seen during all hours of the day. Only about 75% of the cows become pregnant and have only one fawn, twins are very rare.