The Bugle of the Red Deer in Charente-Maritime, West of France

Red deer stag bugling in the fog in West of France in Charente-Maritime.
Red deer stag bugling in the fog in West of France in Charente-Maritime.

From mid-September to mid-October , the red deer belling in France. Several regions are known to listen to the cryl of the red deer. The Charente- Maritime region is one of them. From "La Coubre" forest in the North to the forest of Haute-Saintonge in the south, it is possible to listen to the cries and the songs that are modulated according to different situations.

There are five different squalls:

  • The presence squall is short and brief. The male red deer used it to flag its presence.
  • The languor squall. It is a melancholy cry that indicates that the male red deer did not find any female red deer to satisfy his instinct.
  • The challenge squall. It is a powerful cry that the red deer grows when he wants to gauge another deer.
  • The victory squall. This is a set of light cries emitted by when a male red deer is pursuing a deer doe to mate.
  • The slab of triumph. This is the cry of the winner of a fight.

Season slab marks the mating season for the red deers. Old males gather herds of female deers. One can count up to 30 females. Young deers try to build a herd challenging old males. This is an opportunity to photograph the terrible fighting during which the deers can get stuck and die of exhaustion. Deers are so excited they plow the meadows with their antlers.

The activity of the red deers squalling for a month is summarized in three words: mating, monitoring and defense of the herd. They lose weight dramatically. They become weak . This is an opportunity enjoyed by young deers trying to conquer females.

Photographing the squall of red deers is difficult because Charente-Maritime forests are dense and very large. In the forest of "La Coubre" grasslands are rare or are located on private properties. In the forests of Haute-Saintonge, grasslands are more common and accessible. One a good meadow found, it remains to find the tracks to find herds of red deers with a dominant male. The period is short to make beautiful pictures. Knowledge of the field is essential. Unlike other parts of France as Rambouillet, red deer in the Charente-Maritime are hunted. They fear people. Photo techniques are based on using blinds or approach.

The red deer squall in Charente-Maritime is one of the finest wildlife phenomena and one of the most spectacular because forests are perfectly preserved and environments are perfect.

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