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190 × 135 × 14 mm
208 pages
93 illustrations, 66 in colour
01 Jun 2013

Deer John Fletcher

The Celts called them ‘fairy cattle’ and the Greeks associated them with hunter goddess Artemis, but for most people today deer are seen as cute like Bambi, or noble like the Monarch of the Glen. Deer appear on coats of arms, in fine art and in literature. In Deer, veterinarian and deer farmer John Fletcher brings together the cultural and natural history of these dignified animals.

In this book the reader will learn about the evolution of the deer, as well as why deer grow and cast aside their antlers each year. The book also describes how rulers from Caesar to Napoleon placed collars on deer, and how today deer feature prominently in films.

Fletcher traces the evolution of deer and describes their symbolism, divulging the true story of Rudolph and other reindeer, and explores the role deer have played as prized objects of the hunt. Richly illustrated, Deer provides a fresh perspective on this graceful, powerful animal that will appeal to hunters and gatherers alike.

‘an attractive and wide-ranging summary of an animal that is perhaps more central to human culture than any other. John Fletchers lively text is illustrated with artefacts, memorabilia and paintings covering the different species all over their global domain . . . [this] small but packed book has a tasty morsel on every page.’ — Country Life

‘This is another title in Reaktions remarkable animal series, offering a tantalising mix of science and the arts. Nothing helps us to understand an animal more fully than knowing its history, biology and mythology . . . Fletcher offers a comprehensive overview of deer, from their biological classification to their role in venery . . . well-written, informative and enlightening.’ — The Field

‘a handy pocket-sized primer . . . Fletcher records the persistent association of deer with privilege, renewal (particularly significant among royalty), the role of the poacher in folklore and much more. Make sure youve secured a copy before your next Highland holiday.’ — The Herald, Glasgow

‘John Fletcher examines the cultural and natural history of these magnificent creatures. Evolution, habitats, behaviour and diet are covered, plus the animals role in art and influence on popular myth and song. What Fletcher doesnt know about deer isnt worth knowing.’ — Scots Magazine

‘This is a well illustrated and thoughful little guide taking the reader through the evolution of deer as well as the important place that they have held in mythology and art.’ — Scottish Field

‘a carefully structured, beautifully illustrated book . . . will appeal to those of a scientific bent and/or with an interest in the arts.’ — Veterinary Practice

‘An interesting and well-written book that details the symbolism and the close association that humans and deer have had over centuries. Anywhere that people have lived, humans have made use of some of the 40 species of deer found worldwide. There are definitely things in this book that everyone will learn for the first time and that alone makes the book worthy of reading. And there are also many wonderful images that really bring the chapters to life.’ — Canadian Field-Naturalist

‘As for the book on deer, there could only be one author who could give such an in-depth study of the various species. John Fletcher has done so much for deer, from his famous deer farm ventures to his work as a veterinarian . . . It is against this background that this book deals so comprehensively with deer, including all the British species . . . Refreshingly, the book does not avoid contentious issues.’ — North Star

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John Fletcher is a qualified veterinarian who lives and works with his wife on a deer farm in Auchtermuchty, Scotland. His previous books include Fletchers Game: A Vets Life with Scotlands Deer (2003) and Gardens of Earthly Delight: the History of Deer Parks (2011).


1. The Family of Deer
2. How Deer Survive
3. The Exploitation of Deer
4. Deer Hunting and Art
5. Deer as Symbols
6. Deer in North American
7. Deer and People Today

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