Red Deer RutWhats that roaring in the woods? The red deer rut occurs in the UK in October.
The rut is the breeding season and is the time when the stags (males) try to impress the hinds (females) and earn breeding rights. The stags are the stars of the rut they spend their time showing off to the ladies this means lots of swaggering, making a noise and thrashing around in the bracken or rolling in mud infused with urine, apparently it works for deer!.
There are also other stags to see off who may have a designs on the harem. Looking big and bold may put off a younger stag but ultimately it may mean a fight. Stags will size each other up whilst walking parallel to each other if there is no back down there will be a violent clash of antlers and fights may be long and bloody.
To see this in the wild you need good local knowledge, long walks and excellent stalking skills. Fortunately, there are several deer parks around the country where the deer are habituated park users and carry on reasonably naturally without being phased by human voyeurs. These parks are often close to town and Richmond Park in London is a classic example. It can be really magical to get to the park early and listen for the roaring of the UK’s largest endemic mammals especially if it is a cold misty morning. Once you have your boots on you can walk into the mist wondering what you might see. Exercise some caution and do not approach the animals too closely though. The stags at this time of the year are pumped up with testosterone and they are concentrated protecting “their” hinds. If they see you as a threat they will not hesitate to try to see you off.