Deer scrapes

At the back of the wildlife flower meadow on my local patch a couple of muddy patches have appeared. Each time I walk past them I wonder what caused them, so I’ve been doing a bit of research.

One patch is used much more than the other, but both patches are around 1.5m long by 1m wide. There is also some damage to the tree just behind the muddy patch.

Fallow deer scrape

I saw this clip by Pocket Pals App which started making me think it could be caused by Fallow deer. If you watch at 1 minute 25 seconds you can see a male fallow deer scraping the ground before he sits down.


If you look closely at the mud you can see large deer footprints and some long scrapes.

I’ve often seen much small scrapes made by roe deer where they lay to chew cud and sleep, these are called ‘couches’. In the Spring and summer Roe deer will just lay on the grass, but in the autumn and winter they will go in to the woodland and scrape away the leaves and undergrowth to lie on the bare earth.

The new scrapes I’ve found are much deeper and bigger so I’m guessing it has been made by a Fallow deer.

I’d be grateful if anyone can tell me any more information from the photos.

Thanks Alex

Fallow deer scrapeClose up

Deer Scrape



About Alex White - Appletonwild

This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. My passion is for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. This year my debut book "Get Your Boots On" was published I am a keen amateur photographer. All the photographs on this blog are taken by myself unless stated otherwise. I am a member of A Focus on Nature, the network for Young Nature Conservationists, BBOWT, The Oxon Mammal group and The Oxfordshire Badger Group. You can also follow me on Twitter @Appletonwild Instagram appletonwild
This entry was posted in Animals, Environment, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Deer scrapes

  1. Bob Cowley says:

    Hi Alex,
    From your description and what I can see in the photos, this looks like male Fallow rutting behaviour – a combination of scratching at the ground with his front hooves and thrashing at a tree with his antlers. Sometimes they will do just one or just the other, but combining both together is typical.
    It may be that this is intended as a display to intimidate rival males or to impress watching females, but they often seem to do it when they are on their own. So it may be a kind of shadow-boxing, to practice his moves or psych himself up for the big fight. Or then again, it may just be a way of dealing with his own excessive testosterone or sexual frustration.
    It would be great to get it on film, but I think you’re probably too late for this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Bob. I have only seen one male round, there is a herd of around 10 females. Did you hear that the young fallow deer we rescued had to be euthanised? Unfortunately it had multiple fractures in various places.


      • Bob Cowley says:

        Your observation of only one male suggests another slightly different theory. Maybe he has a desperate urge to fight somebody, and having no actual rivals, he takes his aggression out on a tree – like a macho character in a movie wrecking the furniture.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Alexis says:

    you could try putting a wildlife camera up beside one of them?

    Liked by 1 person

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