IN the definition of "game" given in Section 3 of the Game Ordinance, " red deer " and 11 barking deer " are referred to as if they were two different animals, but as a matter of fact they are both names of the small deer which is known throughout India as the muntjak. It is also called the "rib-faced deer" and has other names, but it is obvious that it should always be spoken of by the name given to it by all Indian sportsmen. Its scientific name is cervulus muntjac ; its Sinhalese name is weli-muwa or óluwa, and its Tamil name pulatamân.
Muntjak cannot be shot without a license or in the close season. They are found almost everywhere in the forests except in the highest hills, and always near water. High forest liable to floods, also swamps near tanks and along rivers are their favorite haunts, and they hardly ever venture into open places. They are not gregarious, and though sometimes seen in pairs, the bucks generally wander about by themselves. The does, when they have young, lie very close in the darkest thickets and the fawns are seldom seen.
They are one of the smallest species of deer and have long bodies with legs disproportionately short. A well-grown buck may stand 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh 50 lbs., but the average is something less. They are of a reddish brown colour with bellies and thighs white ; those found on the hills being of a deeper shade of red than the low-country variety. The hair is smooth and glossy. The bucks have short horns, about 5 or 6 inches long, on a hair-covered pedicel, with hooked tips and a small tine near the base. It is doubtful whether they are ever shed. The males have also long projections or ribs on the face and large canine teeth in the upper jaw, projecting about 1½ inches from the gums, with which they can inflict severe wounds on dogs attacking them. They all have unusually long tongues with which they can lick their whole faces.
Though very shy creatures they often stand and stare stupidly at men who come on them suddenly, affording easy shots. They run in a peculiar way with the head held very low, and make a clicking sound as they go. It has never been satisfactorily ascertained how this sound is produced.
They have very loud voices for such small animals, and when excited, often "bark" for an hour at a time. They may be easily killed with a charge of large shot. The venison is very good, much superior to sambhur and cheetul meat.