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Rutting season in Bushy Park

It’s rutting season again for Bushy Parks deer – Royal Parks are advising visitors to keep their distance and not be fooled by how friendly the deer are at other more peaceful times of the year. Despite their usual slow and laid-back movements, they can quickly charge at anything they see as a threat. The season runs through late September and October, the deer are at their most aggressive during the first three weeks.

Photo courtsey of Gemma Archer – deer fight captured on Chestnut Avenue.

The word ‘rut’ derives from a Latin term meaning ‘to roar’. Rutting is basically the breeding season triggered by shorter sunlight-hours, where the males compete for female attention. This means that the males become very aggressive, with much in-fighting to determine dominance and mating rights. Challenges like this can be identified by roaring, parallel walking (sizing each other up) and the clashing of antlers to push each other off-balance. After fights, the losing deer can be disorientated and accidentally hit an onlooker or wander in to the road so motorists are also urged to be cautious.

Dog walkers are also advised to keep their dogs on leads during this time and visitors are still welcome to view the deer but from a safe distance of at least 100 metres.


0 thoughts on “Rutting season in Bushy Park

  • Melanie

    I was chased by a lone stag while jogging in Bushy Park this evening (about 7pm). I was on one of the grass tracks in the Blandford Road gate area. I sped up and fortunately it did not persist in the chase. Would like any advice on what to do if the situation arises again. Thanks Melanie

  • mrbeamish

    Hi Suzanne, some advice received from Royal Parks:

    The Rutting season has just started and the Deer cull is on so the Stags are very uneasy at the moment.
    The only other advice I can give is possibly try a different route or try to avoid running near the Deer.

    I know this sounds obvious but it’s the only other advice I can give, if the runner/s are worried about their safety, perhaps they could avoid using the Park during this time?


  • I was in the park on Sunday and witnessed a woman who was charged and attacked by a stag twice. She was shaken but otherwise luckily unhurt other than grazes. I would strongly recommend giving stags plenty of space during this season.


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