It went buck-wild.
Youth soccer players in the UK got a closer wildlife encounter than expected after a horny stag with massive antlers bum-rushed the field in the middle of play.
“Many of the children playing and the people watching were amazed — stunned to see such an unusual sight,” photographer Giedrius Stakauskas told South West News Service of the animal’s gate-crashing, which occurred Oct. 9 at a peewee soccer game at the Bushy Park Sports Club in Teddington, London.
The 45-year-old Bromley resident captured the moment one of the male red deer — the largest species in the UK with a maximum weight of nearly 500 pounds — leapt a fence and ran onto the pitch.
The interspecies substitution that occurred began after bystanders observed two deer roaming around the field.
“I was chatting to some other parents on the side of the pitch and one of them called to me to show me the first deer,” Nicki Hudson, who was watching her son’s team play an away game, told the Daily Mail. “I could also see the second deer which to begin with was behind a wooden fence and I didn’t think it would jump it.”
Much to her surprise the animal jumped over and strolled “straight across the pitch as the boys were mid match.”
According to Stakauskas, the brazen buck’s on-field foray reportedly caused some of the children to scream and run away. Fortunately, a quick thinking referee “called the players over to all stand together to the left of the deer,” recalled Hudson.
Both teams were reportedly forced to pause the game for around 10 minutes as Bambi wandered the field, before strutting off into the trees, allowing them to resume play.
It’s lucky no one was injured by the big-racked interloper. Red deer stags can be particularly aggressive during the autumn rutting season, when they joust with other males for the right to breed.
In fact, their across-the-pond relatives have also proven rather feisty. Last October, a buck in Utah was filmed charging at a police officer who had freed it from a hammock.