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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The terrifying moment a rutting stag charged a woman walker and knocked her to the ground

By Jessica Satherley

Run! The unidentified woman quickly tries to run away from the rutting stag as she is chased through Bushy Park in Richmond

This was the petrifying moment a woman was chased by a rutting stag before being knocked to the ground in a London park.

She was left uninjured but ‘badly shaken’ from the attack, which occurred while she was watching three stags compete with each other during a mating ritual.

And the extraordinary scenes were captured by photographer Robert Piper, who had also descended to Bushy Park, Richmond, to watch the display last Friday.

A number of people had gathered to watch as the stags competed, as part of the breeding season which typically runs from the end of September to late October.

But as a couple edged nearer to get a closer look, one stag turned its attention from its rivals and charged directly at the woman, knocking her to the ground.

Mr Piper said: “The deer were bellowing and being aggressive. Two or three stags were charging each other.

“One stag was quite worked up. A few people had gathered to watch, but one couple got a little bit too close. I looked down at my camera for a second and then I heard a scream and the stag was charging the woman.

Don't look back: A number of people had gathered at Bushy Park to watch as the stags compete, as part of the breeding season, but this one got worked up and charged at her

Attacks: The unidentified woman is just one of three recent victims of stag attacks in Richmond and Royal
Parks have issued a warning to tell people to stay away from the deer during rutting season

“He went for her and knocked her over. She got to her feet and he charged a second time, but she managed to get behind a tree where she hid, but the stag would not move. She could not get away.”

Mr Piper said the woman finally managed to escape after he distracted the animal’s attention by shouting and waving his arms.

Mr Piper said: “She was really, really, shaken up. She was lucky she wasn’t badly hurt and was able to walk away — it could have been a lot worse.”

The unidentified woman is just one of three recent victims of stag attacks in Richmond, after a young girl and a man in his fifties ended up in hospital.

London’s Royal Parks today issued a warning about the dangers of rutting stags following the three separate attacks.

Knocked down: The photographer described how the stag went for her and knocked her over, but she got to her feet and he charged a second time

Terrified: The photographer added that she was really, really, shaken up, but lucky she wasn't badly hurt and was able to walk away

In one case a young girl was taken to hospital with head, wrist and chest injuries after being gored by a stag in Bushy Park, Richmond.

The man in his fifties was also taken to hospital after being attacked in the same park.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Parks, which maintains Bushy Park where there are currently 320 red and fallow deer, said: “We are aware of the incidents and are investigating the circumstances.

'It’s important to remind park visitors that deer are wild animals and must be treated with caution.

“It’s dangerous to approach the deer at any time of year, but especially between September and November, when the males are rutting.

'Signs throughout the park warn that caution is necessary.”

Rutting stag: During the rutting period, males often rub their antlers on trees or shrubs, as seen here



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