IT IS one of the most spectacular sights in Scotland’s annual wildlife calendar.
And this year visitors to an estate on Royal Deeside are being given the chance to get up close and personal with red deer stags, battling it out for supremacy, as the annual deer rutting season gets underway on Scotland’s hills.
They are being offered ringside seats on on “deer rutting safaris” being operated for the first time this year by the Glen Tanar Estate near Aboyne, owned by Michael and Claire Bruce.
Ms Bruce, whose family has owned the country estate in the Cairngorms National Park for four generations, said: “The deer rutting season is quite special as the entire glen seems to echo to the sound of bellowing stags. It’s not often that members of the public are given the opportunity to get so close to them – many of our visitors will never have seen a stag in the flesh before - so it’s a really exciting experience to see these animals during rutting season.”
She continued: “It has become increasingly clear over the past few years that wildlife is one of the main reasons that people come to Glen Tanar. We have responded to that by increasing the number of our wildlife watching safaris we offer to focus on special events such as deer rutting and black grouse on the lek.
“These have proved to be extremely popular and while we hope to be able to expand this in future, our first commitment will always be to ensuring that the habitat and wildlife in the glen is not compromised.”
The Glen Tanar estate is home to thriving populations of both red and roe deer.
A spokeswoman for the estate explained: “With the introduction of the rutting safaris visitors to Glen Tanar Estate are being offered a unique opportunity to watch the majestic beasts at close quarters, allowing visitors to watch as male deer compete for supremacy and mating rights.
“The deer rutting safaris are on offer at the estate each Sunday from 4 to 7pm through October – the most active time of day for the deer. Hosted by experienced wildlife guide, Mike Martin, visitors will be transported in a Land Rover and will receive in-depth information and tour of the estate. With years of experience working in the glen, Mike knows the best kept secrets on how to view deer during the rutting season.”
She added: “as well as seeing the magnificent deer locked in battle, visitors can also view some of Scotland’s most iconic animals in their natural habitat. Wildlife commonly found on the 25,000 acre estate includes the elusive red squirrel, golden eagles and otters.”