Although not native to Britain, the fallow deer (Dama dama) have been present since the Normans introduced them to our forests during the 11th century. (All photos taken in the Forest of Dean by local photographer Rob Ward)
As autumn breaks, the rut begins. This starts with fallow bucks thrashing about in trees to remove the velvet from their antlers. This behaviour can be heard from a great distance and the mangled tree limbs left behind act as territorial markers.
From mid-October through to the end of November the rut is in full swing, with groups of does gathering and bucks fighting to secure them as mates.
If an equally matched buck wanders into another buck's territory, a fight may ensue. They will walk side by side until one turns his head, this is when they both lock antlers and fight.
By forcing his opponent backwards, the fight is a show of strength and the victor gets to mate with the does and keep his bloodline going.
Photographer Rob Ward said: "If you are lucky enough to hear two bucks fighting in the forest, the sound is like ancient warriors fighting with wooden swords, and it is truly awesome!"
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