The Royal Parks has advised dog walkers to exercise their dogs outside Richmond and Bushy Parks during rutting season (Sep-Nov).
During rutting (breeding) season, red stags and fallow bucks compete for females. The large males roar, bark and clash antlers in an attempt to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible.
Male deer are more likely to attack dogs at this time of year, as the stags and bucks are pumped full of testosterone and can be highly aggressive.
Deer can feel threatened by dogs, even from a long distance and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner.
Visitors to Bushy and Richmond Parks are advised to walk their dogs outside the parks during this period. If visitors choose not to follow this advice, they should ensure dogs are on a lead at all times and consider an alternative route which follows the wall line of the park, where they are close to exit gates.
Over 600 deer roam freely through Richmond Park, with over 300 in Bushy Park. Throughout the year, visitors are advised to:
- always keep at least 50 metres away from deer;
- never touch or feed the deer. Deer are wild animals, not pets;
- avoid getting in between two deer; and
- never photograph the deer at close range, use a long lens and consider taking photos at off peak times such as early mornings and weekdays.
Adam Curtis, Assistant Park Manager for Richmond Park said:
"We issue this advice for the wellbeing of our deer and park visitors. Deer can become stressed and behave unpredictably if they feel threatened by dogs or have hordes of people standing close by trying to take pictures."
More information about dogs and deer in the Royal Parks can be found on the Royal Parks website.
To report an injury to a dog or a deer, please contact: