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Barking Deer

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

One of the most interesting members of the deer family is the Indian Muntjac, known there as the barking deer, and in Hindustan as the kakar.

This animal stands from 20 to 22 inches in height at the shoulder, and has fur of a deep chestnut color, becoming darker on the back, and paler and less brilliant below; the chin and upper part of the throat, as well as the hinder portion of the under surface of the body, and the inner sides of the thighs and lower surface of the tail, being white. The antlers are generally only 3 or 4 inches in length.

The kakar is essentially a forest-dwelling deer, and appears to be restricted to hilly regions. Its range includes suitable districts throughout India, Ceylon and Burma, whence it extends through the Malay Peninsula to the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Hainan.

These deer are solitary creatures, usually found singly or in pairs; the name of barking deer being derived from their peculiar cry.

Many visitor to the various hill stations of the Himalaya, who may never nave seen a kakar, must probably be well acquainted with its voice, which is wonderfully powerful for such a small animal. It is rather difficult to convey a correct idea of it by words, but it may perhaps be best described as a hoarse, resonant bark. The cry may frequently be heard in the mornings and evenings, and it is also often uttered when the deer is alarmed, when it hears any loud or unusual sound, or suspects the existence of any danger. Occasionally a kakar will continue to bark, at short intervals, for an hour at a time, and advantage may be taken of his betraying his where-abouts to stalk him.

Kakar are accepts at making their way at speed through the most dense jungle, and run with their heads low and their hind-quarters elevated. When running, a peculiar rattling sound is produced by these animals, which is thought to originate in the mouth, although in what manner is still unknown. The bucks, when attacked by dogs, appear to use their tusks, which curve outwards in a peculiar manner, as their chief weapons of defence, and are able with them to inflict gashes of considerable depth. The venison of the kakar is considered superior to that of most of the Indian deer.

I have stalked and shot kakar at various times, and have also had them driven out of cover; many may be found in this manner, but, unless one knows their usual runs, it is difficult to know where to post oneself. Like many other animals, the kakar objects to being driven, and will break back through the beaters in order to make his point. As they only give a chance of a snap-shot at short range, it is easier to kill them with a charge of shot than with a rifle bullet.

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