Photographer Max Ellis captured the vastly outsized dog squaring up to a male stag last weekend while out visiting Richmond Park.
Sharing the images with the Richmond and Twickenham Times, Max pointed out that during the ‘rutting’ or mating season between September and November, male deer in the Royal Parks like Richmond can become increasingly aggressive as they compete for mating rights with females.
“During the rut and mating season these wild animals become increasingly aggressive and focused on the business of fighting and mating and anything that gets in the way could quiet possibly find themselves on the sharp end of an antler,” he pointed out.
“What can you do except tell people again and again to control their animals, treat the deer with respect and keep your distance, especially at this time of year?” Max added.
His timely warning arrived almost 10 years after footage of a dog named Fenton chasing a heard of deer through Richmond Park went viral worldwide.
Yet the risk of similar scenes remains ever-present during the rut, according to Royal Parks, who also advise dog walkers to take extra care during Autumn.
Simon Richards, park manager for Richmond Park, told the RTT: “All visitors and their dogs should keep a minimum of 50 metres away from deer throughout the year.
“For safety reasons, we strongly recommend that during the rutting season (September-November), dogs are either kept on a lead or are exercised outside of Bushy and Richmond Parks.
“During the rut, stags weigh on average 25 stone, have large antlers and are pumped full of testosterone, which makes them intolerant of disturbance by dogs of any size. It’s very important, therefore, that deer are given a wide berth.”