Updated: Nov 10
The signs at the entrances to Richmond Park exclaim; "Deer roam free in the park"... "Do not go within 50 metres of the deer" I run in the park on most days and I guess I am oriented towards caution when confronted by adult red deer, especially the stags.
This weekend Jo and I went for a walk through the centre of the park and happened upon various stags, protecting groups of hinds. As it is rutting season, we are extra cautious, as are most others, as we walk through the grasses and bushes.
As we were returning to the car park we happened upon a particularly agitated stag and his hinds. He gave us a little false charge as we passed by, as he did for all of the walkers. He became even more aggressive as a person with a dog walked by... Then a challenger came in to view, and without warning they attacked each other... Some people ran, others, including us, stood and watched, while they went at each other. I've never witnessed this in person and the experience was visceral. The sound of the clashing antlers, the growling rage, coupled with the vibrations through the ground, as they charged was truly amazing! These boys were not messing around. So, the sign says 50m... I'd pay attention if I were you!
Pixel Peepers Footnote: Note that this image was taken by Jo and not me... Why? Digital Photography Lesson 1, day 1... Always take a spare battery when you are out and about on location. I mean who forgets spare batteries right? You'd have to be a monkey boy for that to happen... Oops! Anyway, Jo's always been a better photographer than me :)