Red Deer

Red deer stags rutting

Red Deer are the UK’s largest mammal and are found widely across Scotland. You could say there’s too many and perhaps we need to reintroduction of an apex predator like the Lynx to naturally control their numbers but that’s a topic for another day ;-) 

red deer
Doe looking through ferns

Whilst yes, there’s a massive abundance of them it doesn’t take away from the experience of being close to these beautiful wild animals. I’ve been in a location with 3 fairly amiable Stags, who decided to have a play-rut just behind the car. Even without the aggression you see them displaying in the midst of the rutting season (normally in autumn) you would still not mess with them! The clashing of the antlers is an impressive sound and you definitely want to stay out of the way.

red deer stag in between trees
red deer stag surrounded by trees

Normally they’re very timid animals but there are a couple of well known locations in the Highlands where they’re very used to people and you can get close to them. It’s always worth keeping in mind that they are still wild animals and could change their moods in a split second so always treat them with care and respect (like all animals)!

red deer stag on golf course

Every year after the rutting season the Stags lose their antlers, and regrow a beautiful new velvet covered pair ready for the next autumn when they fight to protect the hinds in their herd. 

 

They mainly reside in woodland but will often be found roaming the landscapes of the Highlands. If there’s been significant snow fall then they’ll make their way down to the roadside to seek fresher grass, and the salt on the roads.

red deer with mountains in the background
three red deer stags sitting in the grass
red deer stag
 doe with fawn in long grass
red deer stags rutting
red deer stags on golf course