Red Deer Stag Roaring
There are many deer parks throughout the UK. Some, such as the world famous Woburn, have a range of exotic deer species on them, but Red and Fallow are the mainstay species on most UK deer parks. Park red deer vary greatly from place to place, dependant on the management strategy employed, and the size of the park. Some parks hold relatively small herds, purely for aesthetic purposes and perhaps to provide some venison for the estate. Others selectively breed stags, for quality of both antler size and/or body weight, for commercial reasons. These pedigree park stags can be very highly valued in the tens of thousands of pounds as breeding animals.
All park deer are tightly managed by the deer managers, who must selectively cull annually to keep herd numbers health and quality optimal. The older stags, or the ones which are not of sufficient quality are all culled, but some may be of a high enough standard to be sold as a trophy.
Park heads can have easily over 30 points. Stags shot during the Rut are in optimal condition and will look magnificent; however in most cases sound management means this in not good practice, therefore any culling usually takes place after the rut. Stags typically lose “condition” drastically after the rut. They lose weight and their coats become very patchy and “scratty”. In the wild some do not survive the winter.
Park Red Deer Stag taxidermy
This particular mount actually consists of two different stags. The client culled this 20 point stag from a large deer park in the late November (Season in England runs to end April ) post rut. He was an old stag “going back” well past his prime years. Stags culled late in the season are usually in very poor physical condition as they are spent from the rut. He had lost weight and his coat (cape) was tatty and patchy. Mounting the skin (or cape) of a stag in such poor condition, leaves the finished mount looking tatty, irrespective of the quality of the taxidermy. Consequently, in my opinion, it is a waste of clients money to mount a poor cape. In such circumstances I normally advise against mounting a poor quality cape. The only solution to this (other than a skull mount of course) is to re-cape the animal. This means obtaining a replacement skin (cape). In this case, we eventually procured a cape from a very large Galloway stag, culled in S.W Scotland, as part of a forestry protection cull. The stag had a huge and spectacularly long mane on its neck and was the perfect size for this mount.
The client commissioned the mount to be a study of a roaring stag, presented on a floor pedestal. The pedestal mounted roaring stag is substantially more work to produce than a basic shoulder mount. There are many more components and anatomical factors to be applied in the making of the piece from the modelling of the open mouth to the engineering of the support structure and the various components required for the pedestal.
To Roar, a stag will typically throw his head back, lifting his chin high, to inflate his larynx and open his throat. He will lower his tongue into his jaw and tighten his lips around his open mouth and finally, force out a big intake of air to create that deep resonating roar that carries for many kilometeres on a crisp October morning. This radical change in the deers anatomy requires study and application to reproduce faithfully on a mounted piece, if the animal is not to look as if it is something between yawning with boredom or catching flies !
To understand better the physical changes in rutting, roaring red deer I visited and observed deer rutting in various deer parks, including Richmond park in London, to study and photograph them at close quarters. The Richmond deer are particularly tolerant of people, even when rutting. The reference I collected from that observation proved invaluable for sculpting and producing this piece.
This mount was modelled and sculpted using a basic, flat backed, open mouth commercial stag form. The form has been radically altered, remodelled and sculpted.
This is a Floor pedestal Red deer stag open mouthed, consisting of the following components and work:
THIS MOUNT IS A COMMISSIONED PIECE AND IS NOT FOR SALE.