Deer lock antlers in annual rut at Holkham in Norfolk

'Come and fight!': A red deer stag roars defiance at his rival males.

'Come and fight!': A red deer stag roars defiance at his rival males. - Credit: Steve Plume

It's an annual spectacle which belies the deer's reputation for gentle shyness.

Each autumn stags spar for the rights to their harems of does.

They bellow defiance, staking their claim to be the alpha male, before they lock antlers in anger.

On the Holkham estate, both red and fallow deer slug out their turf wars.

Conflicts are common among the more numerous fallow bucks, which walk alongside their rivals eye-to-eye as they size up the opposition. Usually, the weaker of the two backs down.

But where the males' instincts tell them they are closely matched, they turn to make a fight of it, jousting with their fearsome antlers.

These pictures were captured by iWitness photographers who took part in a photographic workshop at Holkham.

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