With autumn conditions comes the nod to get ready to rut – and Tatton Park, in rural Cheshire East, is one of the best places in the UK to witness this spectacular seasonal event.

With autumn conditions comes the nod to get ready to rut – and Tatton Park, in rural Cheshire East, is one of the best places in the UK to witness this spectacular seasonal event.

A deer park since 1290, Tatton is now home to over 400 Red and Fallow deer, who roam freely within its 1,000 acres of Parkland.

Preparations for this annual challenge have already started, with the male deer ‘fraying’ the velvet off their hardened antlers by rubbing them on trees and branches.

Their necks begin to swell and thicken, strengthening them for potential clashes with rival males.

During contest the deer begin to roar and ‘parallel walk’ proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition.

If noise and posture tactics don’t work then the real drama of the autumn rut is resorted to: the stags lock antlers and battle commences.

The rut culminates at the end of October with the victor apparent by the size of his harem, the number of female deer he has successfully attracted during the event.

Darren Morris, Tatton Park ranger, commented: “Autumn is always a magical time here in the parkland at Tatton, and the deer rut is fascinating to witness.

“The seasonal changes such as early morning mists and leaves changing colour are augmented by the sights and sounds of the rut. Males will now split away from other males, wallow in mud and adorn their antlers with grass to make themselves appear more intimidating.

“The deer become very vocal too, this behaviour is to attract females or ward off rival males. The last resort is the actual locking together of antlers, which is a pushing match and a show of strength.”

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Darren added: “Tatton’s deer are wild animals and during the rut their behaviour changes and they can become aggressive therefore we ask that visitors keep their distance from them to avoid disturbing them and interfering with this natural process.”The rut runs from the end of September until mid November.

During this time Tatton is running a series of guided walks to study the deer rut. These must be pre-booked online or by calling 01625 374 428.

The parkland is open every day (10am-7pm, last entry 6pm) until 30th October. From 31st October 2016 until 24th March 2017 these opening hours change to: Tuesday to Sunday (10am-5pm, last entry 4pm). Park entry £6 per car.

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