Our red deer are in the full swing of rutting season. Olivandeer, our main stag, looks likely to become "Master" stag this year and has been strutting and roaring around the deer park for quite a few days now!
This time of year is always the best time to see our deer... even without clashing of antlers, just the intricacies of the way the stags watch and behave around each other is really interesting. The way the more dominant stags body changes, with their throat filling out while the rest of their body becomes physically drained with the effort they put in to securing top position of the herd.
The sights are amazing, but the sounds and smells need to be experienced too. The sounds of clashing antlers when in full swing if more than one stag thinks they are in charge, the sounds of the stags bellowing out their roar... and the smell!... Boy, I have said before, but will say again... I wish we could convey the smell of our deer park at this time of year across to you though the blog! It really is something. A musty, testosterone filled aroma that hits you from some distance away!
And this is what it is all about... the hinds. Isn't she a beauty? The stags compete with each other to become the dominant stag who gets to mate with the females during the mating season.
The rut usually lasts around 3 or 4 weeks at the end of September, beginning of October. During this time the male rarely eat or sleep, and so not only are they showing off their strength, but it is a test of their stamina too. Throughout the rut they will try to group the females together with them, while at the same time keeping all other rival males away.
Olivandeer has been extremely vocal the last couple of days in particular, and will most likely continue for another week or so. There will be little if any clashing of antlers this year, as none of our other stags can match him yet in size. But clashing of antlers will almost certainly be heard when our fallow bucks rut...
|"Fallow Deer" by Steve Liptrot|
Fallow deer tend to rut a little later than the reds, and our two fallow bucks have already had a few practice tussles in preparation as you can see from this photo above, taken by Steve a couple of weeks a go. I expect them to really go for it this year, and it will be interesting to see who takes the top spot. Norman, our white buck, has the size and experience. But Vinny, our younger buck, has the stamina and youth on his side.