Gallery: Deer fight for dominance at start of annual rutting season at Minsmere
- Credit: citizenside.com
The clash of antlers and the deep bellow of the stag can be heard echoing around a Suffolk nature reserve this month, another sign autumn is here.
Rutting season occurs in October, with the red deer putting on a true spectacle as they fight for dominance.
Brian Smith, 70, of Framlingham, captured these dramatic photos showing the deer at RSPB Minsmere in action.
He said: “The deer rut is something very special. It is the time of year when the herd gets together and the males fight for favours of the females.
“For some of the younger ones it is more playing than fighting, but for the big old boys it is more serious. If you get very close to a couple having a good scrap you can hear the noise of the antlers banging together. The stags give out a massive deep bellow, almost like a roar.
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“The rut can last some time when you get two who are equally matched having a fight.”
He continued: “I have seen several fairly young males who look as if they have a large set of antlers come charging up, then at the last few yards they realise how big the other deer is and they turn and leg it in the other direction.”
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Mr Smith goes on the 4x4 deer safari trip run by RSPB Minsmere each year with volunteer guide and deer safari leader Jon Evans.
He said: “Although the deer are running wild, the rut happens in parts of the forest and heath where you wouldn’t normally go. Jon knows where they are and being a photographer himself, he makes sure we get in the best position.
“This time we saw quite a few fights and I also got a few shots of them wallowing in the mud.”
Mr Smith has developed his photographic skills over the past 25 years, combining it with his passion for wildlife to create some mesmerising action shots, many of which he has shared via our iwitness24 service.
“I love watching the wildlife at Minsmere,” said Mr Smith. “I have always been lucky with the bitterns but now I really want to get a shot of a bittern with an eel. The natural reaction of the eel is to wrap itself around the neck of the bird, something I have never been able to get.” Upload your photos today at suffolk.iwitness24.co.uk.