Photo: Jules Cox Wildlife Photography
DEER RUT – ADVICE FOR WALKERS. The stags and bucks now sport fully-grown antlers.
They may be seen thrashing them about in the vegetation to build up their neck muscles, as towards the end of September they start establishing territories for the rut. The deer also indulge in dust wallows to assist the shedding of their summer coats as their winter ones grow through. They are vulnerable to disturbance during the rut and the large number of spectators can affect them.
Recently the numbers of owners choosing to walk their dogs in Richmond Park has increased considerably. Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and even when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner. This is particularly so during the rutting (September – October) and the birthing (May – July) seasons. The Royal Parks recommends walking your dog outside the Park at these times. If you choose, at your own risk, to walk your dog in the Park at these times, it is advisable to keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the Park, close to exit gates.