Fallow deer originated in ancient Persia. Native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, they have spread throughout the European continent and to the British Isles. In recent times, they have been introduced into New Zealand, Australia, and the North America where they have become one of the favored species for domestication and deer farming.
There are several thousand fallow deer here in Texas on deer farms, and many thousands more ranging wild on Texas ranches. Farmed fallow have a very mild flavor. Free-range fallow have a more natural venison flavor but are not as readily available. We harvest free-ranging fallow deer.
The fallow deer is about 5 feet long and weighs about 120 to 150 pounds. It is the only deer sporting a wide variety of colors - From solid dark brown (chocolate) to solid white, with over 40 variations in between. Many fallow deer have spotted coats of various colors.
The antlers are also unique. They are often quite large and have flattened spade-like ends. Fallow deer are primarily grazers, preferring grass and forbs, but may also eat twigs and evergreen needles in winter. One particularly interesting phenomenon is an "addiction" that a few fallow deer in Texas exhibit to the consumption of prickly pear cactus. Even when other food is readily available, some fallow deer eat prickly pear cactus and often succumb to massive ingestion of the cactus needles.
Fallow venison is highly valued for its tender texture and beef-like flavor.