The annual deer rut has started and will continue until the end of October. Many people come to the Park to see the stags and bucks fighting. They often get too close and sometimes the deer attack people and dogs.
Richmond Park is a historic deer park and we welcome The Royal Parks safety advice which should reduce incidents.
Deer in Richmond Park
Richmond Park is a national nature reserve and deer park with 630 Red and Fallow deer roaming freely since 1529.
The deer have played a major role in the park's history and have shaped the landscape too.
Our special grassland habitat depends on grazing and the parkland trees have a distinctive 'browse line' as the deer eat all the leaves and twigs growing below about 1.5 metres. Deer grazing also prevents tree seedlings from growing, keeping the grassland open.
During the autumn the deer 'rut' (breeding season) takes place. The Red stags and Fallow bucks compete for females (known as hinds and does respectively). At this time, the large males roar, bark and clash antlers in a spectacular way in an attempt to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible. The young are born May – July and are hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass. The young are very vulnerable at this time and their mothers, being sensitive to disturbance, will defend their babies.
Warning: Deer are wild animals.
Please keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and be aware of your surroundings so that you do not come between two rutting stags or a mother and her calf.
Do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.
Deer advice for dog walkers in Richmond Park
Deer are wild animals and can be unpredictable. Richmond Park is a nature reserve with herds of wild deer roaming freely.
Recently, the number of owners choosing to walk their dogs in Richmond Park has increased considerably.
Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner.
This is particularly during the rutting (September – October) and the birthing (May – July) seasons. We recommend walking your dog outside the park at these times.
The Royal Parks has received reports of numerous incidents in Richmond Park where dogs sustained injuries, one of which was fatal, as well as incidents where a number of deer have been killed by dogs.
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 where you are close to exit gates.
If pursued by a deer, let go of the lead. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them.
Owners of dogs, who chase wildlife in the parks, including deer, could face criminal prosecution.
To report an injury to a dog or a deer, please telephone 0300 061 2200 or email [email protected].
The Royal Parks advice can be found on their website
*Photograph of stag roaring by Steve Morgan