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Red stags fighting in the rut

For some time we had wanted to film stags fighting and to capture the rivalry between dominant stags and their younger counterparts as they vie to cover the hinds.

This this time round we actually managed it.

We were at Kinnaird Estate having said goodbye to the last of the year’s guests, but with a few days left of the stag season, we were out for an afternoon with both the rifle and the camera.

The weather was still and warm, which is less than ideal, but after glassing across the hill I could see a stag holding hinds in a sheltered and quiet basin close to the estate march where it meets a large conifer forest.

Often during the day stags will lie up in the shelter of the trees before coming back on the hill as darkness approaches.  We made swift progress up the boundary, stopping to glass every few yards, and after half an hour a large stag approached the dominant stag holding a good number of hinds.

What began as a brief stand off turned into all hell breaking loose. While they were distracted and antler locked we made up as much ground as we could, and whilst we were unable to get a vantage point above them, we witnessed a vicious fight in progress.

What began as a brief stand off turned into all hell breaking loose.

C. Dalton

Younger stags moved in, clearly in the hope that while their much larger counterparts were in action they may get a chance with the ladies. But all were thwarted, from nowhere a large stag appeared and after a brief chase had his way with one of the hinds. The other stags were still fighting, blindly oblivious. 

As quickly as it started,  the action fizzled out with much roaring and posturing and deer chasing in all directions. One such young stag came our way, and rapidly became the last-but-one stag from this year’s cull to a neck shot