Deer birthing season in Bushy Park

Visitors in Bushy and Richmond Park have started to notice the change in doe behaviour in the last week, this is due to birthing season when female deer feel that they have to protect the young and nursery areas (where bracken will or has already grown).

There have been two incidents already in Bushy Park where dog walkers have been charged by deer and unfortunately one in Richmond Park that led to a dog being trampled to death.

Royal Parks always remind park users that although deer are mostly very docile during other times of the year, during birthing (May-July) and rutting seasons (September-October) they behave very differently. Royal Parks now advise that dogs are walked outside of the park during these times.

General advice to park users is to always keep 50 metres away from deer, in addition, dog-walkers should keep a much longer distance even when dogs are on the lead and well-behaved. If a dog is charged, its best chance of escaping unharmed is actually to drop the lead so it can run away to safety.

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25 thoughts on “Deer birthing season in Bushy Park

  • 28th May 2013 at 17:20
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    Seriously the dog owners have to be stupid to allow this to happen.. the deer will try to hide away from us and from dogs at this time! If you go seeking them out to harass them or allow your dogs to harass them it is your own fault if something bad happens. We were walking through the park a few weeks ago and saw lots of deer, but now a month later we walked through and saw hardly any. Very sad for the dog but undoubtedly the fault of the owner not the deer.

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    • 28th May 2013 at 18:01
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      Hi Lesley, where have you got the information that dog owners are intentionally seeking out the deer? I’m struggling to see where it is in the above article so I assume this is from somewhere else?

      Herds of deer move around in the park over time so you won’t necessarily see them every visit, but particularly at the moment they will be hiding away whilst giving birth and protecting their young.

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    • 6th June 2013 at 06:55
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      Lesley you are an ill informed idiot making comments like that. When you get attacked by a deer on one of your little deer watching walks perhaps you’ll have the brains to apologise.

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      • 6th June 2013 at 07:53
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        I do hope the moderator will not allow this name calling! It is unacceptable. It is their home, show them some respect!

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        • 6th June 2013 at 08:45
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          Yes indeed why should someone else be allowed an opinion? Your comments are ill informed and offensive! I apologise for the idiot part although I was refering to your comments not you. I wonder if you will be grown up enough to do the same?

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          • 6th June 2013 at 08:56
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            I don’t really care what you think, I will apologise for nothing, maybe you never saw the film of that idiot, and yes he was an idiot, allowing his dog off his lead to chase the deer, Benton or Fenton was the name of the dog, quite well known video on YouTube. He MUST have known his dog had a tendency to behave that way already.. no wonder the deer are fighting back! Persecuted and culled by men with guns twice a year and harassed by dogs, who can blame them?

          • 6th June 2013 at 09:35
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            Hi Lesley, if you want a reasonable discussion about this issue and to have your opinion respected, it’s probably not a good idea to start it off with the phrase “Seriously the dog owners have to be stupid to allow this to happen”.

            Clearly from the other comments below, responsible dog walkers are being charged from long distances without warning and it is often a surprise that deer do this considering how docile they are during the rest of the year.
            They aren’t ‘seeking to harass them’ as you put it, it’s just a behavioural change that happens each year and catches many off guard: not everyone sees the warning signs and even when they do, it’s still a shock sometimes to be charged even when keeping hundreds of metres aware from deer as per Royal Parks recommendations.

            There have also been reports (as there usually are) of people without dogs being charged so it’s not limited to just dog-walkers. Would it be fair to call you the same thing if you were charged in the park just because you walked there?

            PS deer aren’t “fighting back” against dog attacks or the cull! Charging & attacking is a behavioural change that occurs during birthing and rutting season each year as mentioned on another post. They display this behaviour in the wild regardless of interaction with humans, dogs or otherwise.

            Everyone, please keep the discussion civil and stick to the facts.

          • 6th June 2013 at 12:12
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            Lesley, your response says it all really. I dont need to add anything further. Thank you editor for attempting to explain properly although I fear from previous comments it will fall on deaf ears!

          • 18th November 2014 at 07:31
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            Clearly you need to go to the to the parks instead of watching YouTube #justsaying

  • 28th May 2013 at 18:20
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    Today I drove through Bushy to go to Hurst Park specifically because of the recent attacks/birthing season and saw a dog owner allow his small dog to run freely towards about 35 Fallow deer that were chilling out under the chestnut trees. Now that is really bad behaviour from the dog owner in my mind, and gives the rest of us who steer a VERY wide berth around the deer, the same bad reputation.

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  • 30th May 2013 at 12:58
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    We were attacked yesterday. We had carefully walked around every deer we could see, and were on the last leg, up Chestnut Avenue. The only warning was the sound of the deer’s hooves as it ran up behind us, and went straight for my dog. She twisted out from under its hooves, and hid behind me, but the deer then went for me. I did the shouting and arm-waving as recommended, and it backed off, but shadowed us for about 400 metres, until we were almost back at the car-park. I had also heard from another man I met on Monday that he’d had the same experience. We all regard the few owners who let their dogs chase deer as stupid, but, Lesley, even steering the widest berth around the visible deer, this one found us and attacked us.

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    • 10th June 2013 at 14:50
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      My Dog was seriously attacked today in Bushy Park. My dog is 15 years old and we were just casually walking through an area to get back to the car. My dogs was trampled, rolled and bitten, but thankfully got away after the 3rd attack. I honestly thought he was going to be killed especially at his age. I dont think I will be going back for a few months !

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  • 30th May 2013 at 14:26
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    Clear moral: stay out of the park with dogs while the deer feel vulnerable. Dogs can poop elsewhere; deer can’t give birth in the side-streets! So selfish.

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  • 31st May 2013 at 09:31
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    We were attacked at the weekend in Bushy park too. Our dog was on lead and we were keeping well clear of deer. We didn’t see the deer before it jumped out at us from round a corner. My husband had to yell and scream and fight the deer off. Thankfully none of us were hurt. It is obviously time to steer clear of the park, however in defence of the dog owners I meet who regularly use the park, we are all extremely vigilant to keep our dogs away from the deer at any time.

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  • 2nd June 2013 at 21:14
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    I was walking around the gravel path of the large main pond with my two dogs on leads on friday morning. Already that morning i had seen two other dog walkers being stalked by deer, one guy was being followed by 5 does. so knew something was in the air and steered well clear. A doe clocked us and came running from 300 meters away and stopped dead in front of me. I proceeded to shout at it and flap the sides of my coat. Had to carry on doing this as each time I stopped the deer wanted to lunge closer and attack us. Managed to get away unscathed. The delay in growth of bracken is making it header for deer to conceal their young. Think they are particularly aggressive. Will be staying out of park til August

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  • 5th June 2013 at 14:11
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    My dog was attacked by a deer in Bushy Park this morning. My dog was on a short lead, we were keeping to the path and were at least 50 yards from any deer (more so from any groups of deer). It was a scary experience and my dog received a good kick from a deer who ran at us from some distance. Fortunately we were able to turn round and walk quickly the other way but the deer followed us for some way. We are very aware that it is the birthing season and stay well clear of all deer. As far as I know, having walked my dog at Bushy Park for a number of years, most dog owners are very respectful to the deer and keep well clear. But the park need to warn visitors of the dangers from the deer at this time. As far as I could see the only notices up tell you not to feed the deer, to keep your dog on a lead near the ponds and not to take the horse chestnuts as the deer need them for food in the autumn. I was glad I was on my own with my dog and not with elderly parents or my young children. Oh, and no presence of any game keepers!! This is a must at this time of year.

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  • 6th June 2013 at 11:25
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    [Comment removed about Deer Cull meeting – this is not related to this article]

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    • 6th June 2013 at 11:52
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      I seriously object to your censorship, it is overly rude and aggressive. Where am I supposed to publicise the meeting to the local ppl if not on here?

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      • 6th June 2013 at 12:08
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        I have asked you in reply to your other comment on the feedback page if there is any information online I can link to, then I’ll post this meeting on the Events page.

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        • 10th June 2013 at 15:10
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          I did reply to you tteditor on the feedback page, which I hope you can see, but still am not able to see it on the events list, would be most grateful if it could go up on there as it has on sites for Kingston and Richmond already, thanks

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          • 10th June 2013 at 16:38
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            It’s definitely listed on the Events page – on the 19th of June. Is that the correct date?

          • 10th June 2013 at 18:43
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            Sorry my mistake I can see it, for some reason I did not look far down enough, that is correct thanks so much!

  • 10th June 2013 at 15:10
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    My 15 year old dog was attacked today in Bushy Park at about 11.30 am . She charged at him 3 times and I honestly thought he was going to die. She rolled him over and trampled him. It was the most scary thing ever and he was only just about 2-3 ft in front of me when it happened. .
    With hindsight we should have turned round when we saw the deer looking at us, but didn’t realise the severity of the situation.
    Please be warned these deers can be dangerous. She obviously had young somewhere ! I walk in Bushy Park with my dogs often and have never ever encountered anything like this before.
    Thankfully my dog is ok apart from a gash on his nose. He is being checked by my vet. It so easily could have turned out so differently

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