Red Deer Rut Season:
Today we are going to talk about one of the most important naturalistic shows you can see in Abruzzo: all over Italy there is no better place to attend the Red Deer Rut Season (Cervus Elaphus).
At the beginning of September, when the hot summer days leave the place to the misty autumn mornings, in the forests of the Abruzzo mountain range all around you can breathe the air filled with strong smells of wilderness.
The Red Deer Rut Season is officially started.
One of the most beautiful times of the natural year, where the colors of the wood are tinged with a thousand shades of red and yellow add to the echoes of the mighty screams of love of this extraordinary wild animal.
Walking on a late afternoon in our forests near Barrea Lake will make you feel, through smells and sounds, something really unusual. All those who are there can only be fascinated by this ancient and wild "ritual".
But now let's go back to the scientific description of this event: at the beginning of the Fall, the King of the Forest leaves the deep and secure valleys, driven by the excitement caused by the rise of the hormones, to climb into the so-called "Rut's arenas" at high altitude, glacier highlands covered with green meadows where their calls are amplified and where they have the space needed for their fights.
Here, at their most powerful time and physical condition, they gather all the strongest males, ready to challenge themselves to create and defend their own harem from other contenders.
Throughout the whole day you can listen to the mighty roar of the deer, whether you are in an hard trek or simply walking in a small village scattered in our parks. But it is in the hours just before and after the darkness that the real show is accomplished.
Before the dim light of dawn rises on the Apennine valleys, the voices of the forest become more and more gloomy, awakening ancestral fears and flying the imagination to fierce beasts, but when the sun rises from the ridges everything turns out to be what it is and fear leaves room to wonder.
From the verdant crests we witness at the appearance of some big male against the dawn colors who casts his desperate call of love to assure his genes to successive generations. As the light rises, we find ourselves astonished that we have not perceived the presence of these large animals a few tens of meters from our place in large herds of females that are managed and guarded by the most powerful males.
And it is right now that we can attend the highlight of all this natural dance: the fight between two dominant males.
Suddenly the constant and almost deafening rut leaves room to silence. The frenzy pervades the herd and the females move away frightened in various directions and young males who are both curious and fearful escape from any noise.
At a certain point a clear and dry snap rushes into the meadows, rolling stones down the slopes, the fight has begun!
The time it takes for our eyes to locate the origin of that sound and we can see the figure of two great males, full of their strength challenging in this wild fight with only one winner.
Watching for long minutes the "hug" between the huge horns of the two contenders is really worthwhile.
These fighting take place from the beginning of Red Deer Rut Season to the end but their intensity varies with the level of hormones circulating.
At first we can observe skirmishes that more than fighting looks like games or war tests, as hormones go crazy these turn into real battles that can also culminate with injuries which can be fatal.
With the days passing by and the level of hormones falling all this goes down and the wood shaken and transformed by the power of these gorgeous animals comes back to normal, leaving room to normal rhythms and to the advance of the autumn colors.
The appointment with our wildlife watching guides is next year when this wonderful show will take place in the same locations but with different actors!
The other thousand forms of life that are awakened by these ancient screams and all the thousands of shades of the natural parks of Abruzzo will make you fall in love with this period, this is guaranteed!