button to main menu  Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, 1787

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Page 191:-
almost 30 miles, and in about two miles more took him, though not before he received a mortal wound from his horns: The deer was then brought to Dalemain, where he died in about three hours, and, when opened, was found to have almost all his suet melted.
So hot are their bodies in rutting-time, that they seek for watery places to cool themselves in, where they will lay themselves down and tumble a considerable time; and if it is not a running stream, you may see a quantity of grease on top of the water afterwards. They never copulate with the doe, or ever interfere with the buck. In rutting-time they have a strange croaking voice, to make love with, (which they never use at any other time) and which will admit of no description or comparison, but is inexpressibly disagreeable. They can leap an amazing high wall or hedge, but do not go to it like other creatures, in a direct line, but in an oblique manner. Joseph Powley, the deer-keeper, about nine years ago, observing a stag lying in his corn, went home, brought a couple of hounds, and opening the gate into the field, let go his dogs; they soon roused the deer, who run straight to the gate, which Powley held in his hand half open, the deer not perceiving him till he was close to the gate, and not having time to turn, jumped over his head: he says he was so frightened, that he does not know if he stooped or not when the deer went over him, and he had not time to run away: he drove two stakes into the ground, between the first and last slotts *, which I measured to a little more than twelve yards; the stakes I suppose are yet standing: Powley was a man six feet two inches high. They gain a point to their horn every year, till they are five years old, when they are called a Stag at all Points, (see the names;) after seven years old they loose a point every year to thirteen, when their horns become smooth without any antlets, yet the horn is long. Now whether after that age, they are called a High Deer's Grease or not, they must be better heralds than me that know: I need not tell the reader, that all manner of deer cast their horns every year, it is a thing so well known: the hind goes twenty-seven weeks with young, the doe twenty-one. The fallow-deer go in herds in the same manner, with only this difference, that after they have cast their horns, till rutting-time, the bucks go chiefly together, and the does and prickets by themselves; these observations cannot be made where deer are tame in parks, and made familiar. The fawn when very young, is left by its dam hid in little shrubs, or rushes, where it squats like a hare so close, that you may frequently take them up; but when they gather strength they follow their dams: the bucks fight in like manner as the stags, and as desperately, and so watchful are they of each other, that you may frequently get close enough to them to hit them with your cane or walking stick. The fallow-deer keeps always near the ground where he is bred, and does not ramble about for better pasture, unless in Winter; they, like the red deer have a fine smell, and one would almost believe that they could smell a turnip field a mile off. I have seen in a morning in Gowbarrow, when a buck or two have the night before left the park and found out a turnip-field, that the other deer, upon their arrival, would have met them, and smelling their mouths and feet immediately set off, and hunt their track all the way back to the field where the others had come from, snuffing the ground like a hound: when they came there they would not have stayed, but made great speed back again; but when the evening came they were sure to be in the turnip field. I have observed, (and several others likewise) that the best and fattest deer are seldom to be seen about the time of killing, viz. July and August; they then harbour in the day-time upon the tops of the mountains, amongst tall heath, in the form of a hare, with their horns on each side their shoulders; or amongst thickets, so close that you may pass them within a few yards, and if you do not discover them, will lye quietly: one particular instance I was present at, when above thirty men together passed a buck they were seeking within about six or seven yards; two men a very little behind were leading a hound, which took the wind of him, gave mouth, and dislodged him immediately, to the astonishment of those who passed him. I do not think they know the hunting-season, but believe with the gentleman who made his observations on the great stag at Killingworth, "that finding themselves fat and unwieldy, consequently unfit for flying, keep from the sight of their enemy as naturally as the hare maketh her doublings when hunted." The buck is much more lustful than the stag; and if a buck that is not master of an herd chanceth to get a doe singled out into a corner, he will keep her there as in prison, till she submits to his will; if she offers to escape he runs at her with his head, snorting with his nostrils, and threatening vengeance. I have relieved several from their confinement, and soon as the doe by my assistance could get a little from him, she would have roared hideously as a signal; he would at the same time pursue her, and sometimes overtaking her, force her to cease her voice and lye down, and then he would lye down beside her; after finding the master deer has heard the signal, he signifieth his approach to her relief by his croaking voice, and generally makes all the speed he can: I have known him to seek for them in that couched situation several minutes before he found them: upon his coming to the doe she gets up, and trots with him to the herd; but he seldom offers any insult to the lesser deer, except a look of contempt; though I have sometimes known a battle ensue such delivery. I one time, in attempting to release a doe from such a situation, was assaulted by the buck, who came furiously towards me: when at a distance of about ten yards I was forced to discharge my fowling-piece at him, which I believe took out both his eyes, yet I was obliged to make the wall, to the foot of which he came by the help of his nose, for I think he could not see me.
Some of my readers no doubt will say, I have got upon a hobby-horseical subject: it perhaps may be agreeable to some of them; for my own part, I am never wearied with researches into
* Slott, means the grazes of the Deer's feet.
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