De Hoge Veluwe National Park is home to around 200 red deer during the spring. Only the older male animals (stags) have antlers; young males (stags) and females (hinds) do not. A yearling with growing antlers is called a ‘spitser’; the antler consists of two points that are yet to branch out. The antlers are cast off during winter and grow back in the spring. During the first years, the antlers branch out more and more. They subsequently become heavier.
The deer and the ‘bare game’ (hinds and calves) live separately, apart from during the mating season which is from early September to early October. During this period, the older deer try to collect a herd of bare game; they scare other deer away by making deep guttural sounds known as ‘belling’. After mating, the calves are born in May. Sometimes fights break out between stags.
Red deer mainly live on different types of grass. During the winter, they eat the bark of young trees and bushes. You can find peeled trunks dotted around the field.