Visitors to Bushy Park are being warned to be extra vigilant and stay well away from the deer as the stags are pumped full of testosterone, weight over 25 stone and can reach speeds of up to 30mph.
Autumn signals a shift in deer behaviour as the rutting season kicks off in Bushy and Richmond Parks.
From September until early November, male deer will roar and clash antlers in a bid to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible to mate with.
“Visitors will notice a significant change in the deer from mid-September,” explains Bill Swan, Bushy Park’s Assistant Park Manager.
“The first obvious change is the sound of deer bellowing in the parks as a warning to their rivals. Soon enough, the dominant male deer will start to round up the females, and fighting with other deer may ensue in a bid to hold onto their harems.
“Although this all sounds incredibly exciting and a sight to behold, visitors need to be extremely vigilant, otherwise they could risk severe injury.
“It’s important to understand that deer may seem relaxed and subdued one minute, and then the next start suddenly chasing and fighting each other.
“Please don’t risk your safety, and that of children, by getting in the middle of the action. Keep your distance, and bring binoculars if you want a closer look.”
During the rut, The Royal Parks is urging people to take responsibility for their own safety by:
- Keeping to a minimum distance of 50m from the deer. If the male deer seem active, then visitors should stay at least 100m away
- Always keeping dogs on a lead near the deer or walking them elsewhere
- Abiding by the British Deer Society’s Code of Conduct when photographing deer
- Never getting in between two rutting deer
The mating season also attracts photographers from the length and breadth of the country, and they too are being urged to give the deer respect and space and reminded that the 50 metre rule also applies to them.
Volunteer rangers, identifiable by their bright orange jackets, will be issuing safety advice to visitors in both parks, explaining the physical and behavioural changes that the deer are experiencing during the rut and how people can keep themselves and their families safe.
For everything you need to know about the deer rutting season, read the blog: 12 things you should know about the deer rutting season – Richmond Park; Bushy Park – The Royal Parks.
To report an injury to a dog or a deer, please contact:Bushy Park: 0300 061 2250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org