THE HARGIVE DEER (HO'GARG'MAIV)

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES

A short, thick-bodied deer found in the Sarvonian North, is the Ho’Garg’Maiv (lit. Kuglimz'seitre translation "Red White Animal"), also called the "Hargive", is found in herds of 15-20 and is hunted for its thick skin, which makes tough, valuable armour, and its meat.

Appearance. Both genders of the Hargive measure just under one ped at the shoulder and on average weigh about 15 hebs. A stocky little creature, the deer is distinguishable from other ungulates by the antlers adorning the slender heads, which are found on both genders. The antlers of the deer seem like two separate elaborate, gnarled tines that twist and turn erratically, but upon further examination, one finds that the antlers are actually rooted as one horn, which splits into two branches about 5 nailsbreadth from the base of the antlers. Although both, bucks and does, have antlers, the male’s antlers are much heavier and longer than the females’ so there is rarely any confusion regarding gender. The colour of the deer depends on the environment, as it changes its coat with the seasons to blend into the environment and thus defend itself. The colour change is not drastic, ranging from a rusty grey to a deep brown/red to a pure white in winter. The deer has a square jawed, box-like head, with beady black eyes and white flecks of hair that begin on the bridge of its nose and continue down the neck to the withers, where they fade away. As babies, these spots are non-existent, and only begin to appear with age, so the older the deer, the more white markings one will see on its cape. Return to the top

Special Abilities. None to speak of, except that their coats change depending on their surroundings and the season. Researchers are not sure how this is achieved, they only know that the hairs themselves do not fall out, they simply change colour. Many researchers and other scholars are investigating this trait, as its power could easily be harnessed to create a camouflage system employable by humans. Return to the top

Territory. The Hargive inhabits the northern half of Sarvonia, with high numbers found on the Heath of Wilderon, but a pretty solid population spread out across Northern Sarvonia, but not to the same extent as are seen at Wilderon. The deer have not successfully migrated south of the Tandala Highlands as of yet, although certain people have had them shipped to their estates and whatnot in Southern Sarvonia as a novel specimen with which to impress their friends. The animal also does not seem to survive too well in areas that never thaw, like anywhere north of the Heath of Wilderon. Rarely are these magnificent creatures seen in the lands of the Ice Tribes, as this is deemed by far too cold for the deer species in question.
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Habitat/Behaviour. A gregarious species, the Hargive can usually be found in large groups numbering around 15 or more. Each herd will have no more than 2-3 bucks, and the rest of the group will be made up of breeding age females and young. The herd is very efficient, physically driving off sick, wounded or feeble does. Because bucks are so territorial and possessive, old bucks are always being challenged by young renegade bucks that have no herd of their own. When two bucks compete for the right to remain with the herd, they face-off in an impressive test of strength and endurance which leaves them both battered and bruised, but rarely turns fatal. The two males stamp their feet and slowly move forward until they lock their horns together, at which point they simultaneously try to slowly lift the other’s front end off the ground to expose their necks and soft underbellies which are mercilessly kicked and scraped by sharp front hooves of the other animal. This action leaves skin and muscle shredded, but otherwise the animal is no worse for the wear, although they are officially no longer part of the herd, and will be ignored or even treated with a fearful disdain by the does which were, at one time, so faithful.

The most popular strategy in which to hunt this deer is employed by the Kanapan men originally, and it takes advantage of the Hargive's natural tendencies. Because they inhabit such wide plains, the deer will generally run pretty much straight away from any danger, and so they are easily directed. They also really clump up, forcing themselves into a tight ball of deer hair and antlers as they try to escape their predators. With this in mind, the hunters embark on a long process in which a wide, deep hole is dug, and piles of stones representing men, which the Kuglimz call "Faz'turg", are erected in a long funnel shape narrowing towards the pit. The pit must be at least 3 peds deep, about 5 peds wide and 2 peds across. The technique requires at least 15 people to be truly effective, but the outcome, when performed correctly, is overwhelmingly successful. Once the pit and Faz'turg are complete, 2-3 riders find a herd and begin chasing the deer towards the hole. The mouth of the funnel can be up to 5 dashes wide, so the odds of the deer going into the trap are high, but the larger the funnel, the more people the technique requires. The hunters on the ground stand dispersed throughout the funnel at varying intervals, where they shout and wave their arms and chase the herd along the ever narrowing path until they reach the hole, and even though the front animals see the hole, they are pushed into it by the oblivious deer that follow and soon the entire herd is at the bottom of the pit, in various conditions.

The deer that survive the fall are shot with a bow and arrows, and once the entire herd is dispatched, the younger hunters are lowered on ropes to the bottom. Once there, they untie themselves and fasten the cords onto the feet of the deer, which are then hauled up to the waiting women, who bleed out and butcher the game.

The hole, once dug, will stay there, and be used again when another passing herd comes close. More than a few horses and riders have fallen prey to the trap, as these accidents are inevitable and almost always fatal.
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Diet. Native grasses and shrubbery make up the Hargive’s diet. Alth’ho and hrugchuck grass make up the bulk to the deer’s diet, depending on exactly where a particular herd is roaming. A few of the choice shrubs and bushes include: The juk’lan shrub, redberry bushes, and mutliweeds. During the night they can be found roaming out onto the plains dining on the plentiful native grasses, and during the hot days they retire to the shade of the trees and pick at wildflowers, low hanging leaves and other various shrubbery.
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Mating. One buck will “possess” up to 10 does at any one time, which will live with the buck for the entire year round. Two or three bucks, with their does, will form a herd. The bucks establish which male is the alpha early on, so that by mating season, each stag knows which does are his property. Also, the bucks who have does will not waste energy fighting with their male herd mates, as they need to be constantly defending their place against outsider bucks. Mating season occurs in the late summer, so that fawns are born in the early spring. Does have one birth per year, but multiple offspring are common, usually twins but occasionally triplets. It is most common to see a doe with two offspring at a time, which are nursed until 6 months of age, and then weaned. Juvenile male deer are allowed to remain with the herd for up to one year, at which point the dominant buck will drive them off or be driven away in their attempt to defend their does.
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Usages. Orcish and human armourers prefer to use the hide of the Hargive because of its thickness and durability once tanned. The meat is also eaten, but not necessarily prized for taste or texture. During long treks and marches, armies will send out riders to find and kill whole herds of Wilderon, because they congregate in such numbers, not to mention the skin is suited for armour. In a desperate situation, the antlers of the Hargive can be used as spear head or arrow tip. Some Rhom-Oc orcs can be seen using this type of weapon as their primary missile, even.

The hide also has developed somewhat of a demand by armourers and cobblers from the southern half of Sarvonia, and trading routes have been established in order to move the Hargive leather out of the natural setting and into foreign workshops.
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 Date of last edit 27th Sleeping Dreameress 1666 a.S.

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