Photographing the Deer Rut


During Mid October I had visited both Richmond and Bradgate Parks to photograph and experience the Deer rut. This natural event happens every Autumn season and is the most important part of the year for the deer.

Fallow Deer with bracken

There are quite a number of Red Deer and Fallow Deer in both parks and there is alot of bellowing and posturing to prove dominance and making sure rival males keep away from their harem. Fighting is the last resort so they challenge each other by bellowing and roaring at first.

Fallow Buck fleming

Larger males will roar more louder then smaller males however if this does not deter rivals or males that are evenly matched then they walk parallel to each other weighing the competition and in this case if neither backs down then they go head to head where the resulting victor gets access to the harem. This is to pass on their genes to the next generation.

Reds usually consist of a Stag with harem of hinds and the male fallow deer is known as a buck and female is a doe.

Red Stag bellowing

All in all it was a great experience and even though I took a number of good pictures, I was not able to capture any fighting action between rival stags or bucks.

Mating Red Stag

Richmond Park does get a bit crowded compared to Bradgate Park but I feel Bradgate Park can get equally crowded on weekends and holidays and especially when the sun is out. There are hordes of photographers at both parks with big lenses trying to capture the rut. However I have seen some people get quite close to the rutting deer including children which can be a big risk of getting gored as deer during this time is high on testosterone and a safe distance of 50m should be observed.