Species / International Ovis

Red Brocket Deer & Grey Brown Brocket Deer

Mazama americana & Mazama pandora

Location

Red Brocket Deer: Mexico: Yucatán Peninsula, Chiapas, eastern Oaxaca, and the Gulf Coast north to southern Tamaulipas. Central America: Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Also found in South America from Colombia southward to the northeastern edge of Argentina. Has the widest distribution of any species of brocket deer.

Grey Brown Brocket Deer: The Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, extending to adjacent parts of Belize and Guatemala.

Behavior

Both brocket deer are usually solitary, or a female with her young, the sexes coming together only briefly to mate. A single fawn, occasionally twins, is born after 225 days gestation and remains with the mother through the first year. Females can breed at about one year. One captive lived almost 14 years. However, the Grey Brown Brocket deer gestation period is 206 days and there is a higher incidence of twin fawns.

Reported by different authorities as being diurnal, nocturnal or crepuscular. Relatively sedentary, with a small home range. Seldom seen and little known because of its extreme shyness and wariness. Often remains motionless when danger is sensed. Lacks endurance compared to other deer and can be run down and killed by an ordinary dog. Excellent swimmer, easily crossing large rivers. Diet includes fallen fruits and seeds, grasses, shoots, vines, and crops where available.

Description

Red Brocket deer specimens in Campeche, Mexico, stand 18-20 inches (46-51 cm) at the shoulder, and weigh 22-30 pounds (10-14 kg), average 26 pounds (12 kg). Females are virtually the same size as males. Grey Brown Brocket Deer: Shoulder height about 24 inches (61 cm). Weight 40-55 pounds (18-25 kg), with the average about 44 pounds (20 kg).

The red brocket is the smallest North American deer, notably smaller than the lighter-colored gray-brown brocket. It has a stout body with an arched back, slender legs, a short tail, ears of moderate size, and an elongated face. The coloration varies from reddish-brown to dark brown, but from mid-back to tail it is usually reddish. White areas include underside of jaw, throat, breast, groin area, a narrow stripe on back of front legs, inside of rear thighs, and underside and tip of tail. The ears are small, haired on the back, and dark-almost black-in color. The hairs on nape of neck are reversed. Fawns are spotted for the first several months. The skull is shorter than in the gray-brown brocket, especially that part of the skull behind the antlers, which is much shorter.

Typically, the antlers are short, simple spikes of 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 inches (64-114 mm), occasionally longer, that grow upward from a short, hairy pedicel at a slight forward angle to the line of the face. However, in an occasional specimen one or both antlers will have a very small brow tine; such tines are always non-typical in brocket deer. Antlers are grown and shed at irregular times and may be retained for periods longer than one year.

The Grey Brown Brocket deer is larger, lighter-colored and more elegantly shaped than the Red Brocket deer. The overall color is a shiny grayish-brown (or brownish-gray), with the head, back of neck, hindquarters, top of tail and lower legs a burnished bronze. The ears are larger than in the red brocket; they are hairless, bronze on the back and white inside. There is a darker facial blaze from crown to nose. Throat, front of neck, groin area, insides of legs and underside of tail are white. Fawns are spotted.

The Grey Brown Brocket deer antlers have a somewhat different conformation than in the red brocket, in that they grow upward and backward in the plane of the face. Typically, they are simple spikes of 3-7 inches (76-178 mm), but occasionally in older bucks one or both antlers will exhibit a very small brow tine. Such tines are always considered non-typical in brocket deer. Antlers are grown and shed at irregular times, so hard antlers can be seen in every month; however, most are in velvet at some period between May and November and are hard at some period from November to May.

Habitat

Red Brocket deer: Humid tropical forest. Disappears when the forest is cut or burned too much. Grey Brown Brocket Deer: Similar to the Red Brocket in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Remarks

A very difficult and challenging game animal. Hunted intensively by locals for its tender, delicious meat, yet continues to thrive in areas where whitetail deer have been completely exterminated.

TAXONOMIC NOTES: Three subspecies are listed in North America: temama (southeastern Mexico to Belize), cerasina (Guatemala to Costa Rica) and reperticia (Panama, and extending into South America in western Colombia and Ecuador).

Source: Safari Club International (SCI).

The Red Brocket deer and Grey Brown Brocket Deer only count towards the GSCO Rex Baker Super 40® milestone.

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