Picture-taking park visitors seen getting slightly too close to massive stags

The typical advice is to not go within 50 metres of the deer (Picture: Justin Palmer /

When you spot the UK’s largest mammal striding proudly through long grass and holding up its huge rack of antlers, human instinct should tell you to stay away.

But that wasn’t the case for a group of people who were recently pictured on a visit to Richmond Park in south-west London.

One image shows a woman in a black jacket standing beside one of the park’s famous red deer as a man in a dark blue puffer jacket takes her photo.

In another, a group of three women walk towards a deer as it looks towards them.

Paul Richards, the manager of Richmond Park, described the groups’ behaviour as ‘concerning’ and warned any other visitors against doing the same.

He said: ‘We welcome millions of visitors to Richmond Park to enjoy the natural environment and watch the deer roam freely across these beautiful, vast landscapes.

‘It is concerning however, that some visitors risk their own safety and disturb the deer by getting too close. We ask visitors to keep at least 50m from these wild and powerful animals at all times.

‘It is also forbidden to feed deer – as this can teach deer to approach visitors for food which is dangerous for all. There is an abundance of natural food in the park for deer.’

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The animals are ‘wild and powerful’, warned the park’s manager (Picture: Justin Palmer /

The worst time to approach a deer is during the rutting season – the period between September and November when males clash with their antlers – and the birthing season, which lasts from May to July.

However, it’s a bad idea to get too close at any time of year.

The rutting season may have ended, but as is clear from the pictures, the deer of Richmond Park still have their antlers in December and may not be afraid to use them.

A deer made its feelings clear when a woman posed in front of it three years ago (Picture: @MPSRoyal_Parks/Twitter)

There have been a few reported incidents of the Richmond Park deer attacking people who get too close.

In October 2020, a woman in a summery blue dress was pictured taking a hoof to the back as she posed for a photo.

Royal Parks Police posted the imagine on social media, explaining that the deer are ‘wild animals and can cause you injury’ alongside the hashtag #WeAreNotBambi.

The deer aren’t always the aggressors, either – some nasty dog attacks on the usually mild creatures have also been reported.

Famously, Richmond Park was the setting for a 2011 video in which a man lost control of a dog called Fenton before it chased a large herd of deer through the park.

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