What is rutting season? Royal Parks urge visitors to stay away from deer

Rutting Season is about to kick off  (PA)
Rutting Season is about to kick off (PA)

Visitors to the UK’s deer-filled parks are being advised to stay away from the animals over the next few months during the rutting season.

From September to November, stags often viciously clash their antlers with others as they attempt to attract female deer during the mating season.

Amid high tensions, the unpredictable wild animals may also pose a risk to humans and pets during this time if they get too close. Unfortunately, people have been injured in previous years as a result.

In light of this, visitors are advised to keep their distance and keep dogs on leashes during this time. So what do visitors need to know about this time, and how can you stay safe around rutting deer?

Red deer during the rutting season in Richmond Park, London (PA)
Red deer during the rutting season in Richmond Park, London (PA)

What is rutting?

Rutting is the term for deer breeding season. During this time, stags and bucks act differently than usual as they compete over does and hinds.

During this time, the most dominant stags tend to create a harem where the hinds gather in a group for mating. However, the stag has to chase away and battle any challengers while making sure the hinds don’t wander off, making this season very hard work.

As a result of fierce battles between the male deer, it makes rutting season an exciting time for visitors to admire the local wildlife.

However, extra caution and watching through binoculars is advised for those planning to take a trip to Richmond, Bushy Park, or other UK regions that are home to deer.


When is rutting season?

Rutting season starts in October and lasts until the end of November.

Throughout this entire period, people are encouraged to exercise increased caution when visiting areas with deer.

Where are there deer in London?

According to the London Wildlife Trust, the numbers of wild deer in and around London are the highest they’ve been since glacial times.

You can see deer in a number of London parks, including Richmond Park, Greenwich Park, Bushy Park, and Clissold Park. According to Royal Parks, you can see more than 1,000 red and fallow deer across the London locations.

For a list of all the places you can see deer in the UK, check out this list by the British Deer Society.

How to stay safe around rutting deer

Incidents with deer “almost exclusively happen when people get closer than the recommended 50 metres”, Royal Parks has warned.

According to Royal Park’s advice, visitors should maintain their distance, observe with binoculars, keep dogs on their leads, and avoid crowding deer when taking pictures.

“Please remember that deer are wild animals, keep 50 metres away, and do not wave food or mobile phones in their faces. We urge all visitors to keep their distance, both for personal safety reasons and to avoid disrupting the natural behaviour of the rut,” Royal Parks reminds visitors.

Even if a stag looks like it is resting, Royal Parks urges people not to pet the wild animals or try getting close.

Rangers will be on hand to provide safety advice to those visiting Richmond and Bushy parks.