Stag & Buck Best Given a Wide Berth

          The bellowing of the red stag was a little too close for comfort. It was about 8 yesterday morning on Mangerton Road less than a mile from our Gallan Eile holiday home. I could not see the stag at first but I was uneasy with what I was hearing.
          As the road rose I was eventually able to pick him out about 300 meters away. Already his entire attention was focussed on my every movement. My three dogs were probably his worry – but they were all on leads.
          The stag was on a rise out on the boggy Mangerton commonage. I couldn’t see any females. Presumably they were out of sight in the dip behind him. Thank God for that. Any indication that I was trying to take his women would have him attacking.
          Should I turn tails, I wondered. But then I decided to brazen it out. He didn’t move any closer but watched intently until I rounded a bend and went out of sight.
          Up at the foot of Mangerton there were stags bellowing to east and west. But they were further away, there was some scrub bushes and trees and the ground here is much rougher.
          It was a perfect Autumn morning.
          On the way back the stag was silhouetted against an angry orange early morning sky. The size of his anlter’s made him look even more intimidating. I wanted to try to magnify the scene on my small digital camera but decided not to risk being seen to express too keen an interest.
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recent foggy morn nr GE 13)ct15 P1010111photo: a recent foggy morning near Gallan Eile
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          This morning was even more idyllic. Only a few wispy clouds in an otherwise clear blue sky. Clear, dry, calm, though it was a little frosty. Overhead a few jets travelling from the west.
          As I got beyond the scenic lay-bye I dreamily wondered if the stag was still around.  A little further along two sika deer females idly watched from the top of the ditch. Now I paid a little more attention. Hopefully the sika buck is not at the other side of the road. The females ambled off.
          A few minutes later I happened to glance over the ditch. Less than 30 feet away a very angry looking sika buck glared at me very malevolently. Immediately behind him there was a group of females. I quickly moved away.
          That would have made a great photograph. I should have tried. On the way back I was ready with the camera in my hand. I expected the deer would have gone. But looking over the ditch he was still there. As I fumbled with the camera he bent down threateningly as if to charge. After two quick photos I made myself scarce.
          The photos are so poor I won’t even show them to you.
– Frank Lewis

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