Deer Rut Safari at the Knepp Estate
I imagine that there is little worse for a young child than having to wait a long time to be able to use their birthday present.
As an adult (some may disagree with that), I can confirm a long wait is also disappointing.
But this weekend, Andy and I were able to use the present that Martin and his wife Becky gave me for my birthday back in March, and it was a delight!
The present was a Deer Rut Safari at the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, made famous for the rewilding of 3,500 acres of failing farmland.
In fact, Martin previously interviewed Knepp owner Isabella Tree for an episode of the Informed Choice Radio podcast.
The experience was a tour of the southern block of the rewilded farmland to see Red Deer and Fallow Deer at their respective ruts and lecks.
We only managed to see one Red Deer Stag but what a beauty that was with his 14 pronged antlers.
It did make me wonder about how he was even able to keep his head up with the weight of those weapons.
Fortunately, we saw and heard many more Fallow deer.
The southern block has about 120 Bucks, and they sure put on a display for us.
They hold a piece of ground, called a leck, and use scent glands and urine to make themselves stink.
This spectacle and the barking noise that they make (it takes all sorts I guess!) attracts the Hinds to them.
While the Red Deer stags have a lot of work to do herding the females to stay with them, the Fallow Deer Bucks make the women come to them!
Our guides were superb, and their knowledge and passion for the subject made the trip both enjoyable and educational.
The hot chocolate and sausages at the end of the safari also deserve mention.