Richmond Park visitors caught ‘trying to force antlers off’ deer

Richmond Park visitors have been filmed approaching deer and trying to force their antlers off, according to police.

Stags in the west London park, teeming with tourists and families over the weekend, were reportedly approached and set upon by people trying to remove their antlers.

The Royal Parks police issued a warning on Twitter/X: “We have received reports of concerning behaviour in Richmond Park over the weekend, where park users have been observed approaching the deer and attempting to remove their antlers.

“Video footage of these incidents has been obtained.”

They added: “The deer cast their antlers each year and grow new ones. However instead of allowing their old antlers to fall off naturally, some people are taking hold of them and trying to force them off, which is distressing for the deer and also a criminal offence.”

Richmond Park is home to herds of wild red and fallow deer roaming freely since 1637.

Richmond Park and Bushy Park are home to more than 1,000 free-roaming red and fallow deer (Getty)
Richmond Park and Bushy Park are home to more than 1,000 free-roaming red and fallow deer (Getty)

Stags and bucks have razor-sharp antlers, they can weigh upwards of 25st, and they also can reach speeds of 30mph.

Being hit by a stag travelling at full speed is the equivalent of being mown down by a motorbike, according to a spokesperson from Royal Parks.

Around 300 red deer and 300 fallow deer are believed to live in the scenic park, and authorities warn the 5 million visitors each year to keep their distance – especially during the birthing season between May and July.

All male deer have antlers which start growing in the spring and are shed each year, usually at the end of winter.

Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of up to 2.5cm a day.

A soft covering known as velvet helps to protect newly forming antlers. It’s then rubbed off by the male once growth is complete, in time for the rut in September.

People are advised to stand 50m from the deer and 100m away from an “active” male deer.

In 2021 Franck Hiribarne, 44, from Kingston, was fined £600 after his red setter dog killed a deer in a sustained attack in Richmond Park.

Police urge anyone who witnesses such behaviour to contact the police by calling 101.