Wildlife – Deer rut, Richmond Park

A red deer stag looks directly at the camera

October is the month of the red deer rut in Richmond Park where the stags fight for control of harems of hinds. It’s a noisy time as the stags roar a lot. It’s also a great time to see lots of activity – for most of the year, the deer simply graze. Nice life.

But in the autumn during the rut, the stags have stand-offs against each other with the bigger, older males chasing off the young pretenders.

The stags do fight and have been known to kill each other, so at this time of the year, when they are running with testosterone, it is especially important to keep your distance. They can be unpredictable and you really don’t want to come between two stags! You will also find stags lying down, exhausted after clashing with another stag and that can make a great photo – like the first below, taken in the morning mist today.

A red deer stag basks in the early morning sun in Richmond Park

A red deer stag roars among autumn colour

This stag was exhausted. He was standing guard over a sizeable harem in the woods but his eyes were closing. It was the hinds who were alert. There is bracken hanging on his antlers and a wound on his nose.

An exhausted red deer stag during the deer rut, Richmond Park

It was the hinds who were alert.

A red deer hind looks directly at the camera through the bracken

10 thoughts on “Wildlife – Deer rut, Richmond Park

    1. Thanks Diggity! You have to watch them and be aware of where there are antlers sticking up out of the bracken or long grass. If they look directly at me, or suddenly open their eyes, I don’t hang around for longer than one click of the shutter.
      Interestingly one stag happily put up with me clicking away on the shutter but as I put the camera down, I rubbed it against a button, making a noise and he was instantly alert. It seems he’s used to the sound of camera shutters!

    1. I did see a woman yelling at her dog – ‘George’ – because it was barking at a stag. It was very close and the stag was ignoring it. She couldn’t go and get the dog because it would have been dangerous for her to get that close to the stag. Eventually the stag had enough and went for the dog which ran off.
      Dog owners really need to keep their dogs on leads in Richmond Park if they can’t control them.

  1. Incredible set of images. I love Richmond Park. I have never gone to see the stags like this… only from a long distance without my camera. Thanks for posting these.

  2. I agree, these are great pictures! Reminds me that I took some B&W shots in Richmond Park, years ago. I must dig them out and see if they are actually any good.

  3. These are awesome, I live in walking distance to Richmond park and was up at 4 am one morning to photograph them. But I only came across the baby doe.

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