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17 September 2014
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Country Estate activities - Deer stalking


Red Deer rutting

Autumn is the season to watch one of nature's great spectacles - deer rutting.

Woodlands and country estates are great places to witness the rut especially during the first two weeks in October.

 

Red Deer rutting - an autumn spectacle.


Good places for deer watching:

Galloway Forest Park, Ashridge Estate, Ashton Court, Oxford Magdalen College.

Also worth visiting: The New Forest, Argyll Forest, Jura, Rum, the Perthshire Highlands and the Highland Wildlife Park (Kingussie, Scotland).

Stunning spectacle

What could be better than watching some of our largest mammals as the stags lock antlers in a head-to-head battle?

During the autumn the stags start fighting each other, as they pursue the females.

A doe is only in her fertile phase for a day or less each year so competition to mate is incredibly high.

This top stag will mate with as many females as possible.

Tips for Deer watching

* Watch out for tell-tale signs of the animals including tracks, damage to trees, eaten autumn fruits, and deer poo.

* Use your nose to detect the scent of deer and their droppings.

* Once you've located the deer's favourite habitats, be patient and watch quietly for the action to unfold.

* The best time to watch the deer is just after dawn and at dusk when they are most active.

* Listen for the bellow of this herd's dominant stag during the rut. Whistling is also common.

* The Forestry Commission runs rutting events in some areas where you're guaranteed to see the deer locking antlers.

* Keep quiet and wear camouflage colours when watching the deer because they are easily disturbed.

* The fiercest fights can happen towards the end of the rut when the Alpha male stag becomes weaker and others may try their luck.

* Remember to keep a safe distance from the stag and his females!

Deer spotting

There are four main types of deer in the British Isles:

Red Deer* The Red Deer is our largest deer is characterised by its large, ginger rump. The male stage has impressively large antlers which appear in spring. Mainly seen in Scotland, the Lake District, South West England and Ireland.

Deer c/o Chris Packham* Fallow Deer are medium in size and distinguished by their dappled coats and white bums with a black stripe.

Often seen in parks across the British Isles - except in northern Scotland.

* The Roe Deer is a small-medium sized deer with an attractive reddish coat. The male has small antlers whilst the female has none.

Mainly spotted in southern England and Scotland - unlikely to be seen in Wales and the Midlands.

Sika Deer c/o RSPB Images and Kjaer* The Sika Deer is small in size with a white powder puff rear.

The male has narrow antlers with little branching. Grey-brown in colour, becoming redder in summer.

Most common in woodland areas across England and Scotland.

Muntjac c/o Natural England and Glendell* The Muntjac is the smallest British deer. with its reddish brown coat, this deer is barely the size of a large dog. The male has short antlers and tusk-like canines.

Mostly seen in southern and central England.

 

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