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Saturday, October 1, 2011

The moment two exhausted rutting stags collapsed after getting their horns locked together

By Jessica Satherley

Two majestic deer were found fighting for life by schoolboys walking through a forest - after the stags' antlers became locked together.

Oscar Moulinie, 15, and brother Louis, 12, were shocked at the terrible sight of the rutting bucks trapped together in a cruel twist of nature.

Neither of the young stags could escape as their 30-inch long antlers were entangled together deep in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Tragically tangled: The two deer were found by the schoolboys in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, with their antlers tangled together

The brothers stumbled across the heartbreaking scene as the young bucks were fighting in vain to free themselves.

Oscar and Louis raised the alarm in time to save the darker deer - but the white buck was too weak to survive the ordeal.

Louis said: "One was on the floor and he was clearly injured, while the other was jumping around and struggling.

"He was barking and trashing, he was obviously very distressed and very scared.

"It was an incredible sight to see. It wasn't what I expected when I went walking my dog.

"It was really horrible to see these lovely animals in such trouble. We felt so helpless because there was nothing we could do to free them."

Rutting deer: The deer breeding season typically runs from the end of September to late October

The boys stumbled upon the two young adult bucks in forestry on the Welsh border near Lydney, Gloucestershire.

Wildlife experts believe they had been struggling for hours, getting slowly weaker as they battled to get free.

One had rope tangled around its antlers, which was possibly dumped in the forest - and that added to their pair become entangled.

The quick-thinking boys ran to a nearby road to try and get help for the injured beasts.

The brothers alerted a passer-by the estate keepers who rushed through the woods to try to save the deer.

The boy's mother, Claire, 47, from the nearby village of Bream, near Lydney, said: "It's lucky the boys came along at the right time and were able to raise the alarm.

"If they hadn't acted so quickly both deer would have died. As it is we were able to save one."

An estate keeper said deer getting tangled was getting quite common at this time of year.

He said: "The animals thrash their antlers in trees or on fence posts and pick up things like rope. If they then fight other males their antlers can become locked.

"People ought to think twice by leaving material that could harm animals around.

"These boys did really well but people should be careful when approaching injured animals because they may lash out."

The deer breeding season typically runs from the end of September to late October and during the rutting period, males often rub their antlers on trees or shrubs.

Wild fallow deer have lived in the Forest of Dean for thousands of years and were hunted as far back as Norman times.

Numbers declined and there were only about 40 in 1971 but there are more than 300 in the Forest now.

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



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