The bellowing makes up a wonderful show that the deer star in each year and that begins in mid-September, in which a time of confrontations between males begins with the sole objective of conquering the females.
The deer bellowing will be one of your favorite events if you are a nature lover and it will be a great excuse to enjoy a country house in Andalusia.
Andalusia is one of the best regions of Spain to enjoy bellowing, with a multitude of mountain ranges and protected natural areas where deer roam freely in the forests.
The whole bellowing process begins at the end of the summer, when the male deer go in search of the females in heat to seduce them. They must duel with the rest of the males, in a battle of antlers that produces an audible noise for several kilometers and that continues until one of the opposing deer accepts defeat. Also, during the bellowing, the power and hierarchy of the group are at stake.
The bellowing is always under the watchful eye of the female deer, who will let themselves be wooed by the winning males as a mechanism to guarantee the future of the species.
Between fight and fight, especially during sunrise and sunset, male deer emit loud bellows that will delight you as a wildlife lover. These are the moments when you can experience the deer bellowing in its purest form.
Just before nightfall is the best time to see the deer bellowing. The male deer take advantage of the darkness to come out of their hiding places and go to meet the females, who scamper and go to their usual watering holes such as rivers and reservoirs.
The deer bellowing can be seen but, above all, it is heard. The guttural sounds that the males emit are impressive and overpowering, constantly breaking the forest silence.
In addition to listening to the deer bellowing, you can walk through the forest looking at the marks that the males leave on the bark of the trees with their horns throughout the entire territory, a rubbing practice to fine-tune their antlers.
The season of the deer bellowing is conditioned by the beginning of the rains. If these are advanced and the temperatures fall, it will occur earlier. However, under normal conditions, the deer bellowing begins in mid-September and lasts until mid or late October, although exceptionally it can last until early November.
After the bellowing, the male deer retreat to the forest, where they will continue their life alone. Eight months later, already in spring, the fawns will be born, which will remain with their mother until the next year's labour arrives and they begin to fend for themselves.
To enjoy the deer bellowing in Andalusia, two natural parks stand out, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, in Jaén, and Los Alcornocales Natural Park, in the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga. Either of them is an accurate option.
Sierra de Cazorla in Jaén, located within Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, is nationally famous as a destination to see and hear the deer bellowing. It is the largest protected natural area in Spain and the second in Europe, which together with the large population of deer and other ruminants makes it a privileged area for you to enjoy the deer bellowing.
The most recommended areas to experience the deer bellowing in Cazorla are the Collado del Almendral Game Park and the surroundings of the Tranco Reservoir, for example in floodplains –and at this time of year uncovered by water– at the foot of the valley that Guadalquivir River forms or from the Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente Viewpoint, one of the favorite spots for visitors. You will also be able to see the deer bellowing in Campos de Hernán Perea (Hernán Perea Fields), located more than 40 km from the nearest town and constituting an incomparable wild environment.
Deers do not like human presence and flee the crowds on weekends, so it is recommended that you go to see the deer bellowing during the week to get a better experience. In addition, it will surely be easier for you to reserve a country house in Sierra de Cazorla compared to weekends.
On the other hand, Los Alcornocales Natural Park, in Sierra de Cádiz, is another of the best places to see the deer bellowing in Andalusia. This park has a population of about 35,000 deer specimens. The magical environment, surrounded by ancient cork oaks, contributes to a wonderful experience.
To witness the deer bellowing in this protected area, you must go to La Sauceda or Aljibe Peak, a place classified as an Andalusian Singular Grove. Also in Sierra de Fates and Sierra del Cabrito, already in the surroundings of Tarifa and Algeciras, you will have the possibility of experiencing the deer bellowing, since the southernmost deer population of the Iberian Peninsula lives there.
The possibility of experiencing the deer bellowing in Los Alcornocales Natural Park by renting a country house in Sierra de Cádiz includes night visits and 4x4 routes, as well as being able to contemplate the mating season of other animals such as the fallow deer.
In other places, such as Sierra Morena, in the province of Jaén, photographic outings are organized at the time of the deer bellowing for amateurs and professionals.
There are other places within Sierra Morena where you can enjoy the deer bellowing, such as El Centenillo area. Once here, it is advisable that you also visit the areas of Selladores, Contadero and the Encebras Lane, where, in addition to deer, you may be able to observe specimens of other species such as the Spanish imperial eagle or the black vulture.
Also in the province of Jaén, Andújar is another place that allows easy access to the observation of deer and fallow deer, so it is also a frequent tourist destination to see the deer bellowing. Lately, night outings are organized in which, in addition, it is offered to see the Iberian lynx, a species in danger of extinction.
In Sierra de Hornachuelos, in the province of Córdoba, there is a suggestive "Forest Sounds Route" that runs through the mountains in search of deer for visitors to see and hear the bellowing. It also has the backing of the Vega del Guadalquivir Center for Tourism Initiatives.
Moreover, Sierra de Baza Natural Park, in the province of Granada, is a perfect choice to see the deer bellowing in Andalusia, as one of the largest populations of deer in Andalusia is located there. In the Narváez Visitor Center, 4x4 routes are organized in which, for three hours, you will have the possibility to visit the main places where you can appreciate the presence of deer. You can also go on a horseback ride to hear the sound of deer in the middle of nature. In addition, Sierra de Baza Project Association organizes guided evening outings to Sierra de Baza Natural Park to listen to the deer bellowing in this protected area.
In the province of Seville you will find to enjoy the deer bellowing in Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Park, where there is also a large population of deer distributed by all the municipalities that have a protected area and that are part of the natural park, such as Alanís, Almadén de la Plata, Cazalla de la Sierra, Constantina, Guadalcanal, Las Navas de la Concepción, El Pedroso, La Puebla de los Infantes, El Real de la Jara and San Nicolás del Puerto. Within these places, the best point for ease of access and density of deer population is Almadén de la Plata, inside the natural park and famous for its clear skies, for its cuisine based on the Iberian pig and for its options of natural tourism. In places like this you can follow in the footsteps of the deer, spot their groups and hear the intense cry of the bellowing among the holm oaks, all from the hand of local specialists.
The province of Huelva offers you two enclaves in which to enjoy the deer bellowing. One is the Doñana National Park, where there is a large population of deer and where observation trips are organized with nature photography workshops, giving the possibility of observing other mammals such as fallow deer, wild boar and lynx. The other is Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park, where deer are present almost in any of its pastures. However, the best places to observe them during the bellowing in this natural park are the areas of Aroche, the Aracena Reservoir and Zufre. In this reservoir, specialized companies carry out guided kayak routes and also by car, where you will have the opportunity to listen and observe them on the hills that surround the reservoir.
The province of Málaga joins the spectacle of the deer bellowing season within Sierra de las Nieves National Park. In this mountain range you can attend this beautiful performance live in small groups. In addition to deer, you will be able to observe mouflon and Iberian ibex, offering a 4x4 tour and also on foot through beautiful natural places with strategic viewpoints towards the Costa del Sol and Ojén town.
The last place to experience the deer bellowing in Andalusia is located in the province of Almería and it is Sierra María Natural Park, where the number of deer reaches almost 2,000. Specifically, Sierra de los Filabres is a magnificent place to see, and especially hear, how the red deer stars in this ritual. Places like Calar Alto, Bacares or the Menas de Serón are unique settings to enjoy the deer bellowing. In addition, in the villages of the mountains specific activities are organized during these dates.
Now that you have decided where you are going to enjoy the deer bellowing in Andalusia, do not forget to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, as well as a raincoat in case it rains. And of course, don't miss out on good binoculars.