Watch: Red Stag Repeatedly Gores Rival in Deadly Fight

The stag lowers his head and punches his brow tines into the dead stag’s gut. Nature Is Metal / Instagram

Mind-numbingly brutal footage captured by Polish hunting and nature photographer Rafał Łapiński in September 2022 resurfaced on popular Instagram account Nature is Metal on Thursday, reminding hunters everywhere what deer and elk are capable of during the rut.

In the video, a red stag stands over a dead one, repeatedly ramming his antlers into its belly. He winds up with every last ounce of power he has and drives his brow tines forward and up as if trying to roll the carcass over, like a testosterone-crazed forklift. The rival’s tongue dangles from its mouth as it jostles around on the forest floor.

Without any context, it’s hard to tell what happened here. But the date on the original post on Łapiński’s account says it all. These stags are in peak-rut form, all vying for the attention of the hinds in estrus. For some stags, the battle over breeding becomes deadly.

An article written for Swarovski Optik by Polish hunting guide Adam Depka Pradzinski put the Polish red deer population at roughly 270,000. Wolves, lynx, and brown bears are the species’ main predators, and hunters are also active in managing the population. As Pradzinski points out, almost 100,000 deer were harvested in the 2019 to 2020 season.

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Putting the footage on Nature is Metal opens it up to all sorts of commentary from the account’s 4.8 million followers. Some joked about how heavy Łapiński was breathing in the footage, one noting that he was breathing harder than the “elk” in the video and another likening him to Tony Soprano.

But proximity to stags, bulls, and bucks during the rut should get your heart rate up. Red stags are extremely aggressive for two-plus months, both leading up to and throughout the rut, the British Deer Society says. Humans, especially those visiting national parks, should keep 50 to 100 yards away from rutting deer and elk. (Hunters with a bow tag are, of course, exempt.)

Like with most posts on Nature is Metal, one pithy comment especially stood out in summing up the footage with a single word: “Overkill.”

The post Watch: Red Stag Repeatedly Gores Rival in Deadly Fight appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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