Rutting Season Sees Deer Attacks On The Rise (Pictures)
Testosterone-fuelled beasts are roaming Britain's parks this autumn as stags stake out their territory for rutting season. Female deers, or hinds, will only mate for around 48 hours of the entire year, so these sex-starved stags are desperate to make the most of the doe-eyed females while they can.
Competition’s stiff and the stags know it. Eye-wincingly hoarse bellows bounce off the trees as stags howl to prove their supremacy.
Stags must breed with as many of the coy females as possible during the two-day sex marathon to make sure their seed survives. They accrue a harem of hinds that must be protected from rival lovers.
Intently focused on their mission, bucks starve themselves during this period and don't take heed of their surroundings either. That includes cars, leading Epping Forest Council to issue a warning to motorists.
Conservative councillor John Knapman told the BBC that accidents were a "difficult problem at this time of year". He added "This is a significant danger for us, and of course it's a real danger for both deer and driver". So far 49 deer have been killed in 2011.
One dangerous creature was dubbed "the beast of bushy park" earlier this year, after a stag charged at man in his 50’s, knocking him flying. In the same place a girl was gored and suffered head, wrist and chest injuries. One rebellious stag was even captured on camera attacking a swan.
Autumn sunshine led people to ignore warnings to stay 50m away from the deer. But what should you do if you are attacked? Dorothy Ireland, trustee director of the British Deer Society, told the Guardian:
"If you are attacked, climbing a tree is your best bet. Because if he's decided to go for you, he'll go for you. Run and he'll chase; curl up and he'll attack you on the ground. I'm afraid the only real answer is not to be there. Deer are wild animals, and stags can become very aggressive at this time of year."