By the time I arrived at Cannock Chase it was already early afternoon. The weather wasn't playing ball, any brief moments of sun were quickly followed by bouts of grey cloud laden gloom and spitty rain. This didn't seem to bother the rutting deer who were being very vocal, bellowing loudly in the trees.You'll have to turn the volume up on these videos as the soundtrack is a little quiet but, crucial.
The larger buck were in the dense coniferous forests at the usual rutting grounds, which they use year after year. Most were difficult to get a good view of. I neither wanted to unnecessarily disturb them, or be mauled by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After a few uninspiring shots through the undergrowth, I decided to take a break, put my hammock up in the trees and have lunch. Fully rested, I stood to pack the hammock into my rucksack. As I turned there was a herd of deer right behind me. I froze, they froze... slowly I reached for my camera, they scattered, melting into the forest!
High up on a hill, the sound of clashing antlers echoed across from the next valley. Torn between hurrying and moving stealthily I made my way down the steep slippery track. Two large bucks were fighting in the bracken. A smaller buck decided to take advantage of the vacant plot strutting his stuff and bellowing, but was off in a flash as soon as another much larger buck arrived to investigate the fuss.Trying to capture the action with my camera was difficult. The power of these two creatures as they pushed and shoved was amazing. Just trying to keep your footing or walk through the tough dry bracken is hard enough, but they were ripping their way through it as if it wasn't there. The noise of antler upon antler was surprisingly loud. After a good 5 minutes or more of battling the bucks broke apart. The bracken parted as a huge buck came crashing and thundering down the slope, straight towards me... Aaargh!
Fiddling with the zoom on my camera while checking my potential escape route resulted in a clumsy shot. Luckily the deer spotted me at the last moment and turned off to one side. He looked exhausted, dejected, panting, with the remnants of foliage ripped from the ground hanging from his antlers. I felt sorry for him, he wasn't having a good day.