Red Deer Rut at Chasewater

It was still dark when I left the house this morning, just a short drive to Chasewater in Staffordshire to see if I could find any Red Deer. It’s Rutting Season, so hoped to get some views of testosterone fuelled Stags.

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Couldn’t believe my luck! As soon as I started to walk along a path through the heath area the well known large Stag appeared in front of me. I followed him for a while and even accidentally got within a few feet, luckily with a fence separating us. I stalked him for a while and could see a great shot through the trees with the sun lighting just one of his eyes so quickly grabbed a snap.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Eye Light
Eye Light – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/6.3, ISO1400, 1/125sec – {Flickr Link}

Some of the hinds started to walk back in the direction that they came so I moved along and set myself up for the Stag to come out into a clearing. I waited for a long time before hearing him bellowing about 500 meters away! He managed to give me the slip.

I decided to make my way towards the noise, stopping to snap this Hind just coming out of the trees to cross in front of me

Is it safe to cross?
Red Deer Hind – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/6.3, ISO3200, 1/200sec – {Flickr Link}

Once I located him again, wasn’t hard as not only was he making a loud noise, but there was also about 12 people on a banking watching and photographing him. He was a long way away and although I could of got closer, I didn’t want to get too close in case he charged me. So it was a waiting game. They moved, we all moved. Then 2 of the photographers started to walk down a path towards them, I didn’t think this was a good idea, but had an idea that the whole herd would move when they saw them.

So, I grabbed all my kit and ran up over the banking back towards the same heath area I found the Stag earlier in hope that they would run towards that area. It paid off, soon enough the herd including the Stag came running along which meant I had about 20 minutes close, but at a safe distance and managed the rest of the shots. There were a few young Stags around and the big older Stag kept chasing them away. There were no antler battles as there wasn’t another Stag big enough to challenge him.

Red Deer Stag Bellowing
Red Deer Stag Bellowing – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/11 ISO450, 1/500sec – {Flickr Link}
Red Deer Stag Bellowing
Red Deer Stag Bellowing – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/11 ISO400, 1/500sec – {Flickr Link}
Yound Red Deer Stag
Young Red Deer Stag – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/11 ISO640, 1/500sec – {Flickr Link}
Red Deer Stag Bellowing
Red Deer Stag Bellowing – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/11 ISO500, 1/500sec – {Flickr Link}
Red Deer Stag Bellowing
Red Deer Stag Bellowing – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/11 ISO560, 1/500sec – {Flickr Link}
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