The fallow deer is the most common wild deer in the UK. This species was introduced to the UK by the Romans in about 70 AD. Further introductions by the Normans made it the ubiquitous animal of the hunt. The fashion of deer parks surrounding great houses in the UK made the distribution of fallow widespread. After the world wars of the 20th Century many parks fell into disarray. The deer escaped as fences and walls were neglected and a widespread wild population was established. We now have huge and fast growing population of these deer and luckily for us they are superb culinary animals.
Season: Male Fallow deer come into season in August but are hard to get in numbers due to the huge disparity in Female to male numbers. Having said that, summer Fallow is incredible and if you can get a consistent supply it’s hard to beat. Males are in season until April but I would recommend against their use in October due to the rut which causes stress and taints the venison. Females are in season in November and stay in until March. Very prolific, consistent and delicious.
Size: A large female Fallow carcass will weigh about 33kg. Males about 40kg and upwards. Deer from deer parks ( still classified as wild) will weigh a little less, with some exceptions.)
Cooking characteristics: There is no downside to a fallow deer! 16 portions off each haunch, plus shanks. Sells incredibly well on menus due to its perfect colour, mild flavour and tenderness. Not gamey at all, with nice grain and forgiving to cook.
Yield: 14 portions of a saddle, 12-16 off the shoulders and neck. Around 60-65 in all.