Every year, between mid-September and mid-October, the bellowing deer attract many visitors to the Ardennes who hope to hear this very particular roar. However, many leave a little disappointed because they didn’t hear it… To avoid this disillusionment, here are our tips to enjoy this magical walk, which is both wild and fascinating!
An extraordinary experience
The deer is a discreet, mysterious and suspicious animal. It is rare to come face to face with one during a walk in the Ardennes forest. However, during the fall season, things are different! Stags are much more present and they don’t hesitate to leave the woods to approach the does. It is thanks to the power of his roar that the king of the forest will seduce his chosen one. A stag will sometimes have to excel to face competitors and get the favours of the females he wants. Often he will have to impose himself physically by removing his opponents. Deer fighting is violent and some loose parts of their antlers during combat. So It is no coincidence that their antlers are at their best in rutting season. They are usually 70 to 90 cm long and have sharp tips. The fights are impressive, the deer antlers clash violently and resonate in the distance.
This is an extraordinary experience that immerses you in the intimate lives of these animals and of deep nature, which you will never forget! At the end of winter, deer antlers fall out to grow bigger and stronger in spring.
Immerse yourself in the intimate lives of these animals and of deep nature!
The best observation spots in the Ardennes
The best times to see deer during this intimate moment are dawn and late evening. Since we are not always used to venture into the forest at these times of the day, it is best to be accompanied by a guide who can bring you to the most secret places of the Ardennes, which will allow you to listen best. For this occasion, it is obviously necessary the greatest discretion, which is why we recommend not going in big groups (six to eight people maximum).
The Province of Luxembourg organizes numerous guided walks and theme nights every year. St. Hubert is one of the favourite places for fans of bellowing deer. Moreover, the tourist office publishes every year a map with the best observation sites. Jalhay (in the province of Liège), Amberloup, Habay-La-Neuve and many other towns also organize walks around this theme. Do not hesitate to call the tourist offices or consult their agenda online.
Let yourself get carried away by this amazing and unique moment of animal life in the Ardennes forest!
The CRIE in Fourneau Saint-Michel is also very famous in the region for its knowledge of cervids! Their walks are very nice and well organized.
If you prefer to observe the bellowing deer at your own pace, that is also possible! For this, we recommend free listening areas like the plain of Vlessart, near the forest of Anlier, or in the area of Amerois.
Our tips for admiring bellowing deer
- At this time of the year, temperatures are often low. So dress warmly to enjoy this moment without getting cold. This is an exceptional moment that it’s worth watching. Also, you need to be patient and stay still while watching… So wear warm socks, gloves and a hat.
- If possible, avoid bright colored clothing and opt for dark colors.
- Do not pack a flashlight, it might scare the animals. Instead, bring a pair of binoculars.
- Respect the tranquility of the animals, be quiet and keep a distance of one hundred metres from them. And do not forget to put your phone on “silent” mode, or, even better, to turn it off.
- Also, keep in mind that the king of the forest has a very developed sense of smell. He will not appreciate the strong smells of perfume or tobacco so much and will go to fight elsewhere if he is disturbed…
- Do not hesitate to ask about hunting schedules before starting your walk.
Our last tip: take full advantage of this quiet moment in nature, away from your daily life (ideal for experiencing forest bathing) and let yourself get carried away by this amazing and unique moment of animal life in the Ardennes forest. This will certainly give you some nice feelings, maybe even chills!