These are red deer at Knockreer House in Killarney National Park. I made a trip out there specifically to see the deer, and I ended up seeing a lot of them—but only by flagrantly flouting the rules. There was no fencing along the path when I spotted them, so I just stepped off and mushed my way through the bramble to get closer. This particular herd included four or five males, about a dozen females, and a few adolescent types. The females were pretty interested in me, but the males maintained a dignified attitude of not caring about some hairless little mammal with only two legs and no antlers.

Anyway, it turns out I wasn’t supposed to step off the path, but I didn’t know it at the time. I probably would have done it anyway, though. If I was going to be denied a visit with puffins,¹ I was sure as hell at least going to see the red deer. Naturally I really wanted to see them rutting, but no such luck. Maybe that’s a morning activity.

¹We were there at the wrong time. The puffins had all gone home to Iceland by the time we arrived. Boo.

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