Dog owners who walk their pets in Richmond and Bushy Parks should consider walking them outside the parks during the deer birthing season (May-July).
At this time of year the young are born and are hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass. This year the cold spring has delayed the emergence of the bracken and there is less shelter than normal for the young deer. Females and their young are very vulnerable and sensitive to disturbance at this time and the females can be very protective and aggressive.
It is not advisable to walk your dog in the parks during this time. If you choose to, at your own risk, please keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park where you are close to exit gates. If pursued by a deer, let go of the lead. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them.
Visitors coming to the parks without their pets are still advised to keep at least 50m away from the deer, never getting in between two deer and never feeding or photographing the deer at close range.