Sika Deer Hunting: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

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When you are out there on a hunting expenditure, the objective is to spot a game and take it down. This is always the motivation, but the trophy game can vary. Sika deer hunting is a phenomenon that will be engraved in your mind forever when undertaken with due diligence. Only you get to hunt down the Sika deer because it can be draining to find one.

Some hunters take to the woods for hunting an elk, bulk, or just a deer. Then some are after the rare and unique game that is elusive even for skilled hunters. Sika deer are a distinctive breed of the deer family, and it’s the hardest to track, spot, and kill. They are not that many in numbers, and their distribution in their different locations is limited.

Therefore, finding them can prove to be a doubting task if you lack the necessary hunting knowledge. They prefer inhabiting the densest part of the woods, which makes it hard to spot them. If you want to shoot yourself one, you have to consciously browse the woods regarding some factors. This comprehensive guide will provide you with relevant information to answer most of your Sika deer hunting questions.

Factors to Consider in Sika Deer Hunting

Sika Deer Hunting Season

Before taking a trip to hunt Sika deer, you should first understand they have a hunting season. It means that there are times in the year when you are bound to spot them in plenty. Therefore, the season for Sika deer hunting is the month of September to January. It’s the time when Sika deer can be spotted easily, but this applies to Maryland.

In some cases, the season can extend to mid-February, but they are scarce by this time. By realizing this, you’ll undoubtedly ace a Sika if you’re motivated enough.

Where Can I Hunt Sika Deer?

There are locations where Sika deer thrive and will be easy to spot. It’s impossible to find them in every state, especially considering their population is limited. They inhabit swamps and marshy areas, which are the Easter parts of America. Therefore, if you intend to hunt Sika deer, the states in the Eastern peninsula would be the perfect location.

Which States Can You Find The Largest Sika Deer Population?

If you want to hunt Sika deer, you can find them in various states across America. Yet, there are states where their population is high, while in others, it’s low. Maryland is first in the list and leads with the highest Sika deer population. This was the first location the Clement Henry’s herd was released.

After reproduction, a number migrated towards Texas, and you can’t miss a number of them in different counties. Also, you’re bound to find a large number in Virginia even though they’re not many compared to Maryland and Texas. You will not miss the Sika deer in these three states if you look carefully at where they inhabit. But there are 31 more states you can find the Sika Antlers.

However, the following are some of the states you will find Sika deer:

  • Oklahoma
  • Nebraska
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Maine
  • Wyoming
  • Washington
  • Kansas
Private vs Public Sika Hunting Locations

Above are the locations you can find Sika deer, but there are settings where you can hunt them. In some of these settings, there are regulations on how and when you can hunt Sika deer. What’s better, you can have an outfitter or a guide direct you in some of these places. With their experience, you increase the possibility of spotting a Sika deer.

But if you wish to learn what hunting takes and get the needed satisfaction, hunting by yourself is better. However, you should ensure to first learn the hoops around hunting if you want success in the woods. There are two main locations where you can hunt Sika deer on private or public lands. Most private areas include ranches, and in these locations, restrictions are not stringent.

For public woods, you have to abide by the laws set by the designated authority. This will include the time you can hunt, the weapon to use, and allowed quantity to hunt. Also, regulations are limiting the amount of hunting bags you can take with you. But it’s something that will differ depending on locality.

Hunting Pressure

Before you consider Sika deer hunting, you should understand the hunting pressure in the area you intend to hunt. Hunting pressure dictates the population of these creatures and, generally, any other game. When there’s a concentration of hunting activates in one area, the consequence is a decrease in Sika deer numbers. Therefore such locations are hard to find Sika deer, and if you do, it would be down to luck.

This makes another essential factor which is significant towards you hunting a Sika deer.

Human Activity

The human disturbance will influence the availability of the Sika deer in the vicinity. If their habitat happens to have so much human activity, they disappear because isolation is their forte. This activity mainly includes cutting flora, which is a significant problem even for global warming. Nonetheless, Sika Deer can turn nocturnal, which is in their nature if their habitat is compromised.

Thus making it hard to find them during the day, the hunter’s best hunting time. The only way to find them in this situation is if you can hunt at night. We know that night hunting is not an issue, especially considering you can find night hunting equipment today. However, to hunt at night, you can only do it in a private land because it’s prohibited on public land.

Whether you’re in a location infested with the Sika deer, the human activity factor is bound to drive them away. It makes such zones almost impossible to find the Sika deer.

Facts about the Sika Deer

For many hunters, when they spot the Sika deer for the first time, it’s hard to distinguish the type. It’s because the Sika deer is not a Native American deer, but from an Asian origin, this brings the confusion. The Sika deer is timid and survives by hiding compactly from its prey due to its size. Sika deer has a small body size, and it applies to the legs and head, which is a significant tell.

The male is referred to as stags, while the females are commonly known as the hinds. Its species are categorized into three parts; Asian, American, and European; you’ll find sub-species from each. But here, we’ll be discussing the American Sika Deer. The Sika deer is also commonly referred to by the name, true deer, or Cervus Nippon in the hunting space.

This was their reference from the initial spotters. The Sika deer were first introduced in Maryland, United States, back in 1916. They spread across several states, but they’re mostly concentrated in Maryland’s different counties.

Exclusive Features of the Sika Deer

The Sika deer vary with the region they inhabit, and this influences their physiognomies. It would help if you understood the Sika deer since you can come across other deer types in your haunting expedition. It has unique features that allow it to be differentiated from the regular deer. They include:


Like stated before, the male and female are referred to as stags and cows, respectively. Both have spots that never go away as they age, and this is their easiest tell for most hunters. The American Sika deer has larger white spots compared to the Japanese, which has smaller spots. The color will range depending on the region they inhabit.

But you will find them in two colors, mostly brown or black, with white fur. This will change when winter comes since the fur will grow longer, which tends to hide the spots. When winter passes, they will shed excess pelage.


The weight will differ depending on their habitat, which is influenced by the vegetation. Nevertheless, the female will weigh sixty to seventy pounds while the male will weigh between ninety to a hundred pounds. They aren’t that heavy, and it’s because they don’t grow so big.


The height of the Sika deer is another feature that parts it from the ordinary deer. When fully grown, the Sika deer will have a maximum height of 2 to 2.5 feet.


The antlers are distinct from the males to the females. The male grows their antlers vertical and can reach an eight pointer when mature. The size can grow to about 18 inches, but some Sika antlers can measure 31 inches. This is the peak for their antlers, although it’s not that common.

Thus, if you happen to ace a 31-inch eight-point Sika antler, it’s a colossal trophy price. For the Sika female antlers, they grow two bumps with no points which don’t grow that tall. This is in comparison with male antlers, and they can measure about 11 inches.

Comparison between a Sika Deer and a White-Tail

The Sika Deer and the white-tail come from the Elk family. The two are commonly confused, and sometimes it’s hard to tell between the two. They have distinct features, but some unique features look alike. Nevertheless, when it comes to adaptation, the Sika deer can only survive in marshy areas where the vegetation is low.

The white-tail can endure multiple environments being the reason they are easy to spot in areas they inhabit. White-tails tend to transform their coat color as the season’s change, which is the same for the Sika deer. When alarmed, Sika deer have a unique sound they make to warn its species, but the white-tail raises the tail. For their weight, the white-tails are heavier compared to the Sika deer, and this applies to the size too.

Sika deer shed their antlers, and so does the white-tail bucks. The beams for Sika deer are thin and small in comparison with the counterpart. Just like the female Sika deer, the female white-tails don’t grow antlers. But, due to some genetic disposition, you can find some female white-tail with antlers.

Why is The Sika Deer Highly Prized?

Every hunter loves the chance to take to the woods to hunt a unique game. It’s not every day you will see the Sika deer. Hence when you spot one and slay it, the level of satisfaction is out of this world. This deer is active all day but mostly from the evening, making it almost impossible to spot it.

Also, with their limited population is another reason why the Sika deer are so prized. But the main reason why the Sika deer is so prized is for their antlers and meat. From their origin, these antlers are believed to have medicinal value. However, for most Americans, the antlers are more of a trophy and are highly regarded.

If you get a Sika deer antler, you can have it recorded in the Boone and Crockett book. And this is a big deal for hunters who have an interest in antler collection. Also, considering how rare the Sika antlers are, the prize is enormous if you score an eight-point. 

It’s a great source of nutrients on their meat, including natural fat, proteins, and calories. You should put in mind the meat will vary on the type of Sika deer it’s coming from.

Are Sika Deer An Endangered Species?

According to several reports, Sika deer are not endangered species, and their numbers increase by the day. Therefore, the risk of extinction is minimal, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t controlled when it involves hunting. This applies to Sika deer found in America because, in their native habitat, it’s a whole different story. Even though they’re still available, Sika deer is under threat, and if action is not taken, they can be extinct.

Are Sika Deer A Threat To The Environment?

Sika deer aren’t necessarily a threat to the environment, but they can be bloated when their number is bloated. They can cause human-wildlife or wildlife conflict. Sika deer tend to cause accidents that lead to severe injuries or loss of life from time to time. Since they’re most active at night, they tend to invade the roads, leading to these accidents.

Also, when they are in large numbers, they can destroy vast vegetation, bringing in the need for their control. Therefore, they can only be a threat and a nuisance when their population is high.

Is Sika Deer Meat Edible?

Sika meat is very edible and usually has a dark red color, which isn’t the case with regular deer venison. It’s delicious, lean, and healthy. For some, they’ll say it’s tastier than white-tail meat. As a matter of fact, the only game meat that gets close to Sika meat is Elk meat. You can prepare the meat according to your preference, whether grilling, frying, or baking.

It can be accompanied by most food, including rice, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. Per every 113 grams, you get 70 grams fat, 25 OZ protein, 125 OZ calories, and 63 OZ of cholesterol. That’s pretty healthy for venison.

What Quantity of Venison Can You Get from Sika Deer?

The amount of meat you can get from a grown Sika deer will depend on whether they are male or female. Also, the place the Sika comes from will determine its size hence the quantity of meat you’ll harvest. However, you can get around 50 t0 55 pounds boneless meat from a mature Sika deer in most cases.

Which Is the Best Weapon for Hunting Sika Deer?

The best weapon will depend on the cartridge you’re using. The best weapon for killing a Sika deer is the 243 caliber rifle, which will take it down with authority. The 243 will dissipate around 2100 joules per feet, which will allow you to take down game from 1000 yards. That’s the best range where its effectiveness is unmatched.

Therefore as long as the rifle can dispel 2100 J/feet, you can use it for hunting Sika deer. This doesn’t dwell on rifles only, but muzzleloaders and bows can be used too. But, they have to dispel enough kinetic energy.

Recommendations for Hunting Sika Deer

When hunting Sika deer, you should be aware of several things that entail their hunting. When these animals see a threat, they lie down, ultimately making it harder to spot them. Therefore, when hunting, you should have a watchful eye and stop from time to time browsing the woods. Also, you can use some whistles which produce Sika deer sounds.

It’s essential to know the Sika deer has ten distinct sounds they produce. Each sound has its drive, for example, alerting other Sika of potential danger. When one Sika deer is lost, they can produce a unique sound to identify the herd’s location. Hence, the whistles can make it easier to identify their location when tracking them.

It would help if you remembered to wear proper hunting apparel that doesn’t make noise with your movement. The apparel should make you highly visible to others but less visible to the Sika deer. It’s essential to plan your hunting route and include the areas covered with grass and rivers. These are where you will find them most.

Lastly, when you hear the Sika antler, look carefully because they tend to hide when making these sounds. There is a possibility that you’ll only spot its head, which makes it hard if you don’t look carefully.

Final Verdict

Sika deer makes up the rare antler species, and their value is more significant than the ordinary deer. The wildlife authority in the U.S encourages Sika deer hunting, and it’s to control their population. However, the main reason is that they threaten the white-tail and Elks, which are natives. The threat mainly comes in areas where their population is high.

In this Sika deer hunting total guide, you’ve been fashioned with information that’ll help you take strides in catching this deer. Also, if you didn’t know much about this unique deer, you’ll learn a lot that will aid in your hunting expedition.

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