Red Deer Rut and Photography Safari in Scotland
The Red Deer is the UK’s largest land mammal and undoubtedly the best place to view these magnificent animals is the Highlands of Scotland. During the summer months, they are usually high in the hills and good sightings are really restricted to those willing to walk the mountains to find them. However, throughout September the stags and hinds start to gather lower down in preparation for the rut, which is the red deer mating season.
From the end of September and throughout October the glens resound to the roaring of the stags, competing to mate with as many females as they can. Often the sound of the strongest stag is sufficient to dispel any competition, but occasionally a determined challenger emerges and the resultant duels, where the animals lock antlers in a bid to determine superiority produce moments of high drama. Whilst most are quickly resolved and a victor emerges, they can occasionally result in serious injury or even death.
As the rut activity comes to a close the animals move to their winter feeding ground. The stags congregate close to the road where the estates provide supplementary feeding to keep them in good condition through the harsh winter. This gives us the opportunity to get close with our cameras to photograph them against some of the most magnificent backdrops that the highlands have to offer.
All the images in the gallery on this page are taken at locations Wild West uses for these trips, and you don’t need to be an expert photographer to capture these kinds of images. Your guide, Ian MacLeod is also an experienced and competent photographer with many years of experience working with the animals.
These amazing experiences are available at different times of the year. The red deer rut normally takes place from late September until the end of October and Wild West offer trips to enjoy the spectacle daily depending on demand. Trips normally leave Fort William at 07.30. Whilst photographers are very welcome on these trips the deer are often higher up and although we can get great views with optical equipment, they may be a bit distant even for long lenses.
From the end of the rut until late March when the stags lose their antlers, brings the best photo opportunities with the stags close to the road and the animals become used to humans being close by whilst still retaining healthy respect. Again trips are available on a daily basis. Start times vary depending on sunrise and sunset times, as well as client requirements.
- Get close to Scotland's largest mammal
- Photograph the stags against magnificent highland scenery
- Experience the most spectacular of Highland scenery
- Escape from the crowds
- Hear rutting stags roaring in their quest mate with the hinds
Please note these trips are offered on a private basis and the price is based based on 6 people sharing the minibus.
Alternative Tour Name: Red deer rut and photo safari