Texas Dept. of Wild: The Axis Deer

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The axis deer is considered the most beautiful deer in the world.

Originally from India, they are common throughout the Texas Hill Country and other parts of the state. TFG Editor-In-Chief Chester Moore tracks some down in this video.

According to the Mammals of Texas Online edition, the axis is a moderately large, spotted deer with three tines on each antler; the brow tine forms nearly a right angle with the beam and the front (or outer) tine of the terminal fork is much longer than the hind (or inner) tine; a gland-bearing cleft is present on the front of the pastern of the hind foot; upperparts yellowish brown to rufous brown, profusely dappled with white spots; abdomen, rump, throat, insides of legs and ears, and underside of tail white; dark stripe from nape to near tip of tail. Dental formula as in Cervus elaphus, but upper canines (the so-called elk teeth) usually lacking. External measurements average: (males) total length, 1.7 m; tail, 200 mm; height at shoulder, 90 cm; females smaller and usually without antlers. Weight, 30-75 kg in males; 25-45 kg in females.”

“Native to India, where it is known as the “chital,” the axis deer was introduced into Texas about 1932. These animals are gregarious and usually are found in herds ranging from a few animals to 100 or more. In each herd the leader is usually an old, experienced doe. Unlike our native deer, adult male axis deer normally are found living with herds of young and old animals of both sexes. Anatomically, axis deer are more closely allied to the North American elk than to our native deer. Like our elk, rutting male axis deer emit buglelike bellows, and both sexes have alarm calls or barks.”

Axis deer meat is considered the finest eating of all version and is served in gourmet restaurants around the country.

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