The above excellent video is a fallow deer stag filmed last year up on Cannock Chase by reader, contributor and top friend of the blog Peter Barker. That stag really has romance on his mind…
This is just a quick note to warn people given to exploring the open spaces of the area that the deer population are getting amorous. It’s rutting time for our large brown friends, and that means one thing: the heaths around Brownhills, Clayhanger, Pelsall and Chasewater in particular are likely to be host to rather grumpy, aggressive stags guarding their female harems. Deer are normally gentle souls on the whole, but a hormonal stag with love on his mind will be aggressive and prone to attack, and such animals will, and have in the past charged humans and gored dogs.
To avoid being on the unexpectedly rather sharp end of several hundredweight of cervine cassinova with an attitude issue, please keep a respectful distance and keep your dogs under control at all times. Even if they look like they’re just loafing, these normally docile creatures can turn nasty at a moments notice. This warning applies to anywhere where deer have been spotted – from the heaths of Chasewater to the commons and woods of Brownhills, Jockey Meadows, Clayhanger Marsh and even Sandhills.
Deer are not the cleverest of animals, so it might also be wise to take extra care when driving, as the biological imperative is probably outweighing their small amount of road sense at the moment. That excellent local wildlife blogger Chaz Mason posted this warning, last year:
At this point I would also mention the very large and impressive Red Deer Stag that is being very obliging locally. A number of people have mentioned it to me and Neil Tipton was kind enough to send a photo that captures just how impressive this beast is.
Two words of caution though. At this time of year discretion is very much the best part of valour. It is the annual rutting season and Deer that would normally run away from you and your dog are much more likely to stand their ground or even be aggressive (particularly to dogs).
The second thing is as usual, a reflection on the baser human instincts such as greed. There are still a good number of opportunists out there who would prefer to see this animal filleted and hanging in a butchers cool room (and this seems to have been happening at Cuckoo bank this Autumn). If you suspect that this is going on please notify the police and if possible take the numbers of any vehicles involved. I have already had a report of a group of men walking around near Engine Lane with unsheathed Shotguns just last week so if in doubt don’t approach them, just let the authorities know and take note of anything you think might be useful. That way we can all enjoy a healthy population of Red Deer for years to come.
Of course, once the aggression is over for another year, the commons and heaths will again be given over to the disgusting and lewd mating behaviour one normally sees there. The animals, however, will be behaving impeccably.