The Annual Rut

Published April 11th, 2012

During the Autumnal Season it is the time for the Annual Rut, where the Red Deer Stags, fully charged up with testosterone try to herd as many Hinds together as they can for their harem. The challenge then is for the Stag to keep them and patiently wait for each hind to come into season for mating. The problems faced are the Hinds try to regroup and wander and also other Stags challenge for dominence to win the Hinds away for their own benefit. Generally the older Stags with immense Antler sets win the day. All through the year the Stags build their body muscles up and increase their weight for the Rut challenges, as during the Rut they seldom eat and thus can afford to lose weight.
I will try to document the Annual Rut in this short story, covering the Calf from earlier in the year that try to stay clear and the Hinds gathering right down to the full on explosive action when two dominent Stags lock Antlers and compete.

I do hope you enjoy it all the same as I did in capturing this fascinating time of the year.

In amongst the action

Getting into the undergrowth to be in amongst the action. Something not for the faint hearted but with fieldcraft knowledge and a large tree to hide next to it worked. Safety always the paramount point, self preservation society and a very long lens.

  • October 12th, 2008
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 800mm / f/5.6 / 1/250 sec

Paddle Time

Red Deer Calf taking a paddle

  • October 11th, 2008
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 800mm / f/5.6 / 1/640 sec

Calling Card

I knelt and waited for ages to get this Jackdaw on a Red Deer Calf and then it left its calling card before picking off bugs and plucking some hair.

  • October 1st, 2010
  • Canon EOS 7D
  • 800mm / f/5.6 / 1/320 sec

Thirsty Work

A Stag taking a well earnt drink in between challenges to keep his Hinds

  • October 12th, 2008
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 100mm / f/5.6 / 1/250 sec

Territorial Stag

Patrolling his domain

  • October 12th, 2008
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 145mm / f/5.6 / 1/250 sec

Blocking the way

On the lookout for Hinds and a new challenge


Letting the others know he is here and the signs of the hanging headgear from scenting

Power of the Rut

Very early and still dark I managed to get this in the camera giving th emotion blur sense of power

  • October 9th, 2010
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 300mm / f/4 / 1/25 sec

Misty Times

Another early morning capture in glorious misty, cold conditions

  • October 22nd, 2010
  • Canon EOS 7D
  • 800mm / f/5.6 / 1/100 sec

Misty Breath

An early morning capture showing the breath of the Stag as it bellows.

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Marc Graf  over 4 years ago
Impressice shots!
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Nazareth 434  over 4 years ago
superb photography here- well done