Stag, the common name of the red deer of Europe (cervus elaphus, Linn.) and its congeners. It is about 4 ft. high at the shoulders, and of a general reddish brown color, tinged with grayish in the winter; on the rump is a pale spot extending a little above the tail; there is a blackish dorsal line, and on each side often a row of pale fulvous spots; the hair is brittle, and in old animals forms a kind of mane on the neck; the tail is moderate, the tear bag well developed, suborbital pit large, and the hoofs narrow, triangular, and compressed. The antlers are large and rounded, with an anterior basal and a median anterior snag, and the apex divided into two or more branches according to ago; they are peculiar to the males, shed in the spring, and reproduced, sometimes to a weight of 24 lbs., by August. (For family characters see Deed.) It is strong, swift, and vigilant, with a very acute sense of smell; it was formerly found in herds in the forests of the mountainous regions of temperate Europe, but is now rare except in the least inhabited parts, like the highlands of Scotland, where stag hunting is still a favorite sport with the privileged few.
This in old times constituted the noble art of venerie, as distinguished from the more plebeian chase of the fallow deer and other species which resort to the plains more than the woods. Gestation continues eight months; the young or calf is dropped in May, and is yellowish with white spots; the male is called a stag or hart, and the female a hind. The venison is coarser than that of the fallow deer. It has been found fossil, with bones of the elephant and other ungulates, in the Kirkdale cavern, the peat bogs of Ireland, and similar recent formations. It is represented in North America by the larger wapiti. (See Wapiti.) Other stags are found in India, N. Africa, and Japan.
Stag (Ccrvus olaphus).