Friday, September 25, 2015

Deer rut in Polish mountains

Events of the last few nights inspired me to write this article. It turned out that not only I did not sleep at night - somebody else was awake too. What is more – he was extremly active. Just below our window a stag was walking and roaring loudly. These sounds were not addressed to me but to the potential partner which he was looking for. The roaring did not frightened me because I already had the opportunity to hear similar sounds during mountain hiking – it is called the deer rut.

The rutting period we name the deers mating season in which the males (stags) are trying to entice females (hinds). The stags usually hidden in the forest become noisy and visible. They start calling hinds with the bass roar which can be heard from a distance of several kilometers. The more good-looking male the greater chance of gathering a group of admirers he has.

The deer in the Tatra Mountains, Poland.

Often it comes to a confrontation between two stags. Sometimes they only compete for voices, but from time to time it happens that the males decide to fight and attack themselves with antlers. It is a real treat to observe the fight! Hearing a crack of clashing antlers is also very exciting.

The mating season is very exhausting for deers. Stags behave as if the world did not exist, having only one goal - to find a partner. They forget about eating and lose many kilos during searches and combats. Unfortunately, deers become easy targets for the poachers at that time.

When to listen the deer rut? The mating season takes place from mid-September to mid-October. The deers are most active at night, from dusk to dawn. Their roar can be heard also during the day.

Where to observe the rut? In the Polish Tatras stags often choose the clearings in Kondratowa and Tomanowa valleys. Roaring deers can also be heard in many other places. The first rut I had the opportunity to hear was in the Bieszczady Mountains - I had an impression that deers roar echoed the entire area. The deer I mentioned at the beginning approached the window of our house in the Silesian Beskid. As you can see there is no rule, deers choose wild places in the national parks as well as those which are close to human settlements.

At the end I will tell a story - this situation happened to our friend from the mountain rescue:

[Phone ringing at the office of mountain rescue]
- Hello?
- Good morning. My friend and I have a problem. We are sitting on a tree and next to us the bear is roaring. What shall we do?
- Are you sure that this is a bear?
- Yes!
- Do you see it?
- No, we hear the roars.
The rescuer is looking for recordings of a roaring animal and releases them to the panicked tourists.
- Is that how it roars?
- Yes, just like that!
- It's not a deer but a bear. Don't worry, come down from the tree and continue hiking.

I wish you all successful observations :)

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