(Cervus unicolor) The Sambar inhabits much of southern Asia, mainland Southeast Asia, southern China, Taiwan, and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia. Introduced into Australia and New Zealand as early as the 1860′s.
Large, brown, uniformly colored deer with big, round ears. Sambar calves have foxy red hair with light spots which they lose very shortly. Hair is coarse, rough and oily. Shaggy neck ruff on both males and females. A “sore spot” (2 to 6 inch bald patch) can develop at base of neck at the time of rut. No discharge from sore spor reported in exotics. Simple, twice-branched antler in males only, typically 19 to 35 inches long, but reaching lengths of 55+ inches. Hard antler generally anytime between September and June. Males may be in different stages of growth, velvet or hard antler throughout the year. Sambar attain a height of 40 to 63 in at the shoulder and may weigh as much as 1200 pounds, though more typically 357-574 pounds.
Males defend rutting territories and attempt to attract females by vocal and olfactory displays. The males are solitary and highly aggressive toward other males during this time. Females defend newborn aggressively. They are diurnal animals who live in herds of 5-6 members. Females may live in groups of eight. A male may have one whole group of females in his territory. Utilize heavy cover. Secretive in dense brush and active in the open mainly during dawn and dusk. Value access to marshes, river flats, or lakes for feeding.
Primarily browsers that live in woodlands and feed mainly on coarse vegetation, grass, and herbs. Prefer tender, green grass and can shift to more browse when grass is scarce. Will eat aquatics like water lilies or algae. Add acorns and fruit to diet if needed.
Tendency for two rut peaks during a single, prolonged, breeding season. First peak is often more pronounced. Texas breeding season August to May. In Florida, later breeding season (September to June). Texas births April to January. Florida births from June to February. Females have a gestation of 8 months and give birth to a single young (sometimes 2). Males mature at 1.5 years, but must reach atleast 7 for maximum antler growth and competitive breeding. Females mature at 1.5 years, but often first bred at 2.5 years.
16 to 20 years possible.
May cross with red deer, elk, or sika deer. Hybrids of sambar males with rusa deer females (sometimes referred to as “Samson”) are fertile. Fencing height of 6 to 8 foot often sufficient when not disturbed.
Sambar Deer Hunting
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Scoring Your Trophy Sambar Deer
SCI Record Book Minimums:
(Introduced - Typical)
(Introduced - Non-Typical)
Current Record(s) Held:
145 & 3/8 - Ernie Domries
Free Range - 162 7/8 - Peter Bollinger (pictured)