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December

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A group of deer are feeding on the long yellow grass on a moorland hillside. Not far from the footpath used by humans, dogs and other animals, they are quite used to seeing people walking nearby. Some things are too disturbing for them though.



The feeding deer are interested in the people walking or jogging along the footpath. They look perturbed by something, perhaps the people nearby. Or maybe someone approaching?



The deer see a dog running along the nearby footpath with it's jogging owner. Only a small dog, but a dog off the lead can run anywhere it likes. In the wild, the main predator of large red deer would have been wolves, and probably still is in mainland Europe, where wolves can still be found in the wild. In England though, the nearest thing to a wolf is a pet dog!



Down on the flat area of grassland below the edge, a stag wanders, seemingly on his own. It is December, and stags are still seen to be maintaining their harems, perhaps the hinds can still be receptive to m…

November

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A small group of deer with a young stag graze on yellow grass between stands of heather. The stags are still around marshalling the hinds, although this one looks quite young with only a small set of antlers. Later pictures show that the stags are still roaring, so testosterone levels must still be high.



A large group of deer with hinds and roaring stag are being watched from the long grass by a another, patient stag. The roaring stag has a large number of hinds in his vicinity. The lone stag out in the long grass has decent sized antlers, but is not apparently able to maintain control over the hinds nearby. The roaring stag has either ousted him or maintained control for a long time.



Another large group of deer nearby remain almost unseen in the shadows on a small hillside. This is a group of hinds with a stag, who also seems to have gathered a large harem. The rut has been active for two months now, and it must be hard work to watch over so many hinds, waiting for the right moment …

October

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A hind and calf stand shoulder and neck deep in yellow moorland grass. These two appear to be keeping well away from any rut activity elsewhere on the moor. The lower lying areas of deep grass between the more elevated areas of heather nearby offer a useful hiding place. If they were to lie down, the two deer here would be extremely difficult to find.



A stag with sixteen antler tines stands in the heather. Having that number of tines makes him a monarch, and it is quite rare to so many points. The classification, based on number of tines per set of antlers is generally as follows: twelve tines for a royal stag, fourteen tines for an imperial stag, and sixteen tines or more for a monarch. Alternatively stags have also been classified in terms of points. So a royal stag would be a six pointer (six per side), an imperial seven, and monarch eight pointer.



Even as monarch, this stag seems to wandering the moor alone, but it is possible he is on the lookout for more hinds to add to his har…