Head on a stroll around Wollaton Park this autumn and you might spot one of our resident stags fighting for the attention of a doe…
The months of September and October are the most exciting time of the year to watch our deer as they engage in fierce mating battles, known as rutting. The deer roam freely in Wollaton Park and have done so since the 14th Century, which means you are in with a good chance of spotting them as you go for a walk around the grounds.
Wollaton Park is home to two of the larger species of deer, Red and Fallow, which both rut in the autumn months and are easy to watch doing so around the park. The male red deer, or stags, have multi pointed antlers which shed every year and can be very vocal with a range of loud roars to communicate to the other deer, whilst the fallow deer sound with a high piping nasal noise and the male bucks have flat, hand shaped antlers.
Rutting is most intense soon after dawn but continues throughout the day. The deer are interesting to watch throughout the day as their behaviour changes as the rut progresses. The behaviours seen include rubbing their antlers on trees or shrubs, fighting with each other and herding groups of female deer together (known as hinds) or chasing them.
During the rutting season each stag is very protective of his own groups of hinds. The male deer are pumped full of testosterone and can be aggressive, so for the period of the rut we ask you not to get too close and to keep dogs on leads. It is important to remember that deer are wild animals and must be treated with respect; stags will defend their group if they feel threatened. Please take note of our red signs around the park that give you an indication of areas not to go into.
Make sure you bring a camera with you and if you manage to capture any of the deer rutting this season we would love to see them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!