The above excellent video is a fallow deer stag filmed 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 over the next 8-10 weeks or so the deer population will be 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, that’s still very much relevant:
This week I have been informed that the young male Red Deer have commenced play-fighting locally – by now you should all be aware that this is the first indication that the annual Red Deer Rut is now underway and within the next couple of weeks the older stags are likely to become more territorial.
DOG WALKERS PLEASE!
If you are over the Marsh and Mere for the next couple of months please keep your dog close and if you see any deer PLEASE put your dog on a lead.
I am not in the least bit worried about the deer. For most of the year they will see your dog and run away as fast as they can – but that ain’t now!
These stags are main-lining on testosterone and WILL NOT RUN AWAY. In fact they will not only stand their ground to protect their females they will attack your dog. Over the years I have been aware of at least three instances of local dogs being stabbed by Stags, luckily, so far with injuries-only and no fatalities.
If you insist on exercising your dogs right to run free and unhindered then please exercise that right somewhere else until at least late November.
As I have tried to impress upon you –
this is not to protect the deer – IT IS TO PROTECT YOUR DOG!
I may not have a dog but I do have great affection for them and many of you know that I regularly time-share many of yours so I hope that you take this warning very seriously. Rutting Deer are a magnificent sight but if you want to watch this display, then please show some respect for the animals and also, some common sense.
Lecture over – Chaz
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.