He was with a hind, as well as a younger calf, which looked like one of the ones born in June this year.
Here's one of the calf sniffing the air.
Unlike Luke, Han was very interested in chasing the hind to try and mate with her. He had his tongue out to try and 'taste' whether she was in season. He didn't seem to have any luck and they all went into the woods.
I had already decided that this was going to be a pretty good place to leave the trail camera for a few days, but first I had to wait for the deer to leave so to not scare them away from the clearing. Luckily, another stag started roaring in the distance, which seemed to get them to move away.
And if that wasn't enough, there was a sudden flurry of long tailed tits around a tree in the valley which I watched while dad put the trail camera in position.
Day 2The next day, I looked at the videos on the trail camera. There was an older stag, with what seemed to be eight points, and who looked about 4-5 years old. But he seemed to be alone. I called him "Lando".
The spiker was with two older females and a calf. That made me wonder whether the older stags were taking their females on the fields and moors at the edge of the woods instead of the Suicides Graves clearing in the middle of the wood.
Day 3The plan for day three was exploring the woods to try and see where the dominant stags and their harems were. It started well, because as soon as I turned into the first path into the woods, there was a year old calf.
Her mum was on the other side, and they quickly ran off.
We worked through the wood, first to the south-east corner where you can often find deer grazing, then through the middle of the woods, then back to the south edge. All this time there were no sounds of roaring from the stags, which was worrying.
I checked a clearing at the middle of the south edge of the wood, and just south of there were two spiker stags grazing, who looked too young to be interested in the females.
As dad and I went back to the car, we heard roaring for the first time ! We walked almost all the way back to the car, then carefully worked through to the north-east corner. From a distance, we could see a few hinds:
We slowly and carefully went to a strip of trees to the west of a big field. It was a adult stag rounding up twenty females and calves ! Finally I got to see the rut.
I was overwhelmed that I finally got to see this. My and dad were far enough into the wood so they could not see us and we were against trees so they could not see our outline.
Here's Obi chasing a female, with two other spiker stags close by. By this time, it was starting to get very dark.
Then the stag appeared to see us ! He came closer...
We watched him for a bit longer, chasing the females, although it wasn't obvious whether he was trying to round them up or mate.
I was really lucky to see this. I did not think that I was going to see this until I heard the roaring. Since the trail cam was in the wrong place, this morning, me and dad moved the trail cam to a tree over looking this field. I hope we get some good footage !
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