Last week I went to Duna-Dráva National Park for the first time. The target was to see, and photo, the Red Deer rut. Duna-Dráva National Park lies along the Danube and Dráva rivers covering an area of approximately 50.000 hectares.
We stayed at a place along the Danube river and explored the Gemenc Forest area of Duna-Dráva National Park. It is evident that water play a big role in this area as parts get flooded and dries out over the years. A couple of the places we visited during our time there will dry up during autumn before being filled up again during next season.
We stopped on the way back and forth from Duna-Dráva National Park to get a feeling for what a Red Deer is. The place we visited was a huge farm where a Hungarian University does field studies on Red Deer. I must say that I was really impressed with what I witnessed there. The rutting there was intense and we all witnessed some spectacular things.
At both places we had the possibilities to photo both from hunting towers, tent hides, sitting still blending in with the environment or by exploring the area on foot. I did all four and had two intense moments together with Wild boar sows while on foot. They clearly are afraid of us, but you never know how a sow will react. You must understand that you can pose a threat to their young forcing a reaction from the sow.
Sadly we never got to witness any Red Deer rut in Duna-Dráva National Park. Park management tried their best to find the animals for us without any luck. We heard them, but never saw them. Wild boars could be seen each day and I had the luxury to see European Bee-eaters as well as Black Storks. The place has potential, but you clearly felt that everything was tuned for hunting.
They feed the animals inside the National Park regularly. It is easy to understand why as they don’t want the animals, in particular the Wild boar, destroying the crops outside the park. This means they need to cull the animals to be able to keep a healthy population. What bothered me mostly was that this was evident everywhere as you see both hunting towers and structures for food as soon as you find a meadow of interest. Still you can work with this in mind, but it will hinder you at times. You surely don’t want a man-made structure in your picture, at least not I.
I will stay in touch with the operators and see what can be done next season. We had bad luck this year. The main reason for this is that I think this was early in the rutting season. One need to go there two weeks later as that seems to be the prime time for the Red Deer rut.
Please enjoy the photos.
Photo Album: Hungary Duna-Dráva National Park 2016
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