Mid Eastern (Anatolian) Red Deer
The Mid Eastern Red Deer (also called Anatolian Red Deer, Caucasian Maral, Caspian Red Deer, or Caspian Noble Deer) is a large deer with a stouter build and narrower skull than other red deer. They have a shoulder height up to 4.5 feet and can weigh up to 600 pounds. Summer coat is reddish-brown with dark underparts. Winter coat is a dark slate gray with black underparts and much black on shoulders and thighs. Rump patch is small and poorly outlined, with the upper part darker than the lower. Antlers are large and massive, generally less complex than those of western races, and seldom with more than eight points to a side and often only six.
A two-tined terminal fork, rather than a cup or crown, is relatively common, which perhaps is evidence of a transition toward the next race to the east, which is the Bactrian or Bukharan deer. In some heads the fourth tine is very large, with the fifth tine directly behind as in a wapiti. The largest antlers have come from the Caucasus, where they tend to have wide spreads and many tines. Antlers from Turkey and Iran usually are smaller; however, the longest of record, measuring 48.75 inches and carrying 14 points, were obtained in Anatolia (Asian Turkey).
The Mid Asian (Anatolian) Red Deer is believed to be a cross breed between European type and Asian Maral, although no scientific research has been done to prove this theory. Protected for over 6 decades, the Red Stag population in some parts of Turkey soared up to a point, when authorities were obliged to open up hunting for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.
A ban on hunting this species was raised in 2004. Trophy quality proved to be good to excellent. Currently, there are several areas throughout Turkey where this animal can be hunted.