Club Outing – Phoenix Park Deer Rut

2 November 2023 | Club Outings

On Saturday 21st October, on a dark and damp morning, 9 members of our club (including 1 new member) assembled in the heart of the Phoenix Park to witness and photograph the annual deer rut. We gathered before dawn, and it was clear from the eerie bellowing and grunting noises around us that we were indeed in the right location.

As the light improved we became more aware of the number of Stags and Does in that general area of the park. Best camera settings were discussed/reviewed and those members with greater wildlife photography knowledge were happy to share their recommendations. Long lenses were the order of the day, with some members utilising monopods to add an extra level of stability. Light levels were low with generally dull conditions so high ISO settings were required to give usable shutter speeds.

Many of the mature dominant stags were within close range of our group, posing and calling out their presence to the herd and warning off rival stags. With caution, and crouching behind fallen trees for added protection, we were able to photograph a number of these amazing animals close up. Some members were lucky enough to photograph the stags engaged in territorial battles, with heads down and antlers intertwined in a test of strength.

Overall we stayed in the park for about 3 hours before heading to the visitors centre for a welcome snack and warm drink. Very enjoyable outing, and no doubt we will return again next rutting season.

Some images (click on an image to open in full-screen mode) from the outing can be seen below:

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