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Distributed for Reaktion Books


The Celts called them “fairy cattle” and the Greeks associated them with the hunter goddess Artemis, but for most people today, deer are seen as cute, like Bambi, or noble, like the Monarch of the Glen. They can be a danger when we’re driving at night, or they can simply be a tasty venison burger. But while we may not often eat humble pie—an actual pie filled with deer organs—deer still appear in religion and mythology, on coats of arms, in fine art, and in literature ranging from The Yearling to Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. In Deer, veterinarian and deer farmer John Fletcher brings together the cultural and natural history of these dignified animals.
Fletcher traces the evolution of deer, explaining why deer grow and cast aside their antlers each year and describing their symbolism in various cultures throughout history. He divulges the true story of Rudolph and Santa’s other reindeer and explores the role deer have played as prized objects of the hunt in Europe, Asia, and America. Wide-ranging and richly illustrated, Deer provides a fresh perspective on this graceful, powerful animal that will appeal to hunters and gatherers alike.

224 pages | 60 color plates, 40 halftones | 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 | © 2014


Biological Sciences: Natural History

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“This is another title in Reaktion’s remarkable animal series, offering a tantalizing 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 role in venery . . . well-written, informative, and enlightening.” 

The Field

“An attractive and wide-ranging summary of an animal that is perhaps more central to human culture than any other. John Fletcher’s lively text is illustrated with artifacts, 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

“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

Table of Contents


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



Select Bibliography

Associations and Websites


Photo Acknowledgements


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