Countryside on the outskirts of Sheffield was filled with the roar of rutting red deer stags - but on closer inspection all was not as it seemed.
For the noise was not being made by the stags themselves but instead by people taking part in the annual Eastern Moors Bolving Championships.
Bolving is the act of imitating the roar of a red deer stag and people gathered recently at Eastern Moors, between Holmesfield and Curbar, for the championships as the animal is rutting in the area this Autumn.
And this unique practice was also captured by BBC cameras and featured in an episode of Blue Peter.
Danny Udall, of the Eastern Moors Partnership, said: “‘Bolving’ is people emulating the roar of a red deer stag, which is then marked according to authenticity, volume and whether you get a response from a real red deer. It’s also a good way of making a fool of yourself.”
The National Trust and the RSPB, which manages the Peak District’s eastern moors on behalf of the National Park Authority, imported the ‘bolving’ idea from Exmoor three years ago, and this year’s competition at Barbrook saw over 100 people spectating and bolving at the stags a few hundred yards away.
From now until November, red deer will be bellowing, chasing and mating on this part of the countryside. Red deer have been increasing since a small satellite herd of Chatsworth escapees settled there in the 1980s.
But Danny Udall said too many deer can erode the moorland vegetation, and lead to disease. There has also been reports of deer in local gardens, and several near misses on the roads.
Conservationists say the lack of top predators in the UK leads to problems down the food chain for plants, trees and even song birds as deer populations keep growing. The Eastern Moors Partnership has recently contracted trained marksmen to shoot some mature female deer, to be sold on as game venison. The practice also keeps the deer moving around the moor and spending less time browsing in woodland.
Danny said: “We have reduced the size of the herd to keep it in balance with the environment.”