The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, and we’re fast approaching the spookiest day of the year. Every October we pay homage to vampires, ghouls, and werewolves, and this year there may be a new addition to the Halloween cast of frights for Londoners: deer.
The “Beast of Bushy” has created quite a reputation for itself as Britain’s most threatening stag. Bushy Park, located just south of central London, is home to over 300 Red and Fallow Deer. The park has seen an increase in visitors in recent weeks, in response to reports of attacks by aggressive stags competing for mates. Tourists and visitors to the park, either unfamiliar with the stags’ dangerous ritual or simply ignoring the many warnings posted around the park, are getting much too close to the action this year and putting themselves in significant danger. So far this season, there have been three reported attacks – one even sent a young girl to the hospital with multiple injuries.
Image: Colin Smith/Wikimedia
The stags of Bushy Park have long practiced these aggressive attacks on one another during mating season – for several centuries, in fact, since Henry VIII used to hunt on these same grounds. The British press contend that the same beastly stag has been attacking park visitors and has even been tracking its activity closely over the past few weeks. A spokesperson for London’s Royal Parks, however, has insisted that there is no singular “beast,” but a large number of testosterone-filled, competing stags, which, as the recent incidents have shown, indeed pose a threat to humans who get in their way. The Royal Parks website‘s Bushy Park Notice Board warns visitors against approaching the deer during rutting season, which occurs from September through November.
So if you plan to visit Bushy Park this autumn, remember: give the stags some space… and maybe wear a bit of armor.