Red Deer

Red Deer

PARKLIFE

In England there are plenty of parks which are home to red deer, making them easy to find. They’re so used to humans that little fieldcraft is required to get close enough with a long lens to photograph the UK’s largest land mammal. With likes of Richmond Park and Bushy Park in London, Bradgate Park in Leicester and Ashton Court in Bristol they’re easily accessible to many photographers.

For me it’s a great way to practice so that when you’re out in the proper wild and may only have a brief encounter you are well prepared to nail the shot. Getting experience with knowing your camera like the back of your hand and getting to grips with light so you can use it to create beautiful images will pay dividends will all photo opportunities.

The obvious time of year to venture out to capture these stunning animals is during late September to December when the rutting season is in full swing. The parks arguably look their best with stunning low sun and areas draped in rich warm autumnal colours creating stunning backdrops.

Sexually mature stags pumped full of testosterone will fight for the right to a harem of fertile females. As you walk around you will hear the recognisable bellows echoing across the parks. Rival stags will walk parallel to each other to assess their opponent’s size and strength. They often thrash bracken and vegetation so it gets caught up in their antlers so that they appear larger.

Even though deer in parks are used to humans they still display wild behaviour and can be dangerous. Keep your distance and never surround them as they can they can feel threatened.

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