Although deer are more likely to run than fight, deer can still be dangerous, especially during mating season or when they are protecting their young. Deer are also dangerous for motorists and are responsible for millions of crashes and thousands of injuries each year.
Are Deer Dangerous to Humans?
Deer are not usually dangerous to humans, they are prey animals and are far more likely to run than to fight. Deer are most dangerous to motorists, and are responsible for millions of accidents every year.
Normally deer are not aggressive. They are skittish and scared of humans.
Situations where deer may pose a threat to humans on foot include when a mother deer feels that the life of its young is threatened, or during mating season, when male deer are typically more aggressive and territorial.
How Dangerous are Deer for Drivers?
Deer are involved in millions of crashes every year around the globe, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths or injuries.
According to the AA, deer are involved in over 44,000 crashes every year in the UK.
In Canada, the figure is 25,000, according to a 2007 Traffic Injury Research Foundation report (although this figure also included other large animals, like moose).
In the United States, the Federal Highway Commission reports that there are over one million Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions every year, resulting in over 200 deaths annually. Over 90% of reported collisions involved deer.
Related Article: Do Deers Eat Wood?
Are Deer Dangerous to Dogs, Cats and Pets?
Deer may be dangerous to other animals, especially dogs. Deer have deeply ingrained instincts and view dogs as predators, meaning they may act to defend their young if a dog approaches.
Deer are known to prefer to retreat when under threat. They often run away when approached. It is very uncommon for them to pick fights with other animals.
When deer attack other animals, it is mostly trying to protect itself or their young. Deer view animals like dogs as predators and would attack them if they think it’s their only option.
Related Article: Do Deers Work Together?
When are Deer Most Dangerous?
Deer are most dangerous for humans on foot during mating season, when males are more territorial than usual, and in the Spring when mother deer are looking after their fawns. For motorists, deer are most dangerous in the mornings and evenings when the sun is low in the sky.
During mating season, male deers’ testosterone levels are high and they are more inclined to act aggressively than usual.
Read Also: Are Deer Blind?
Are Deer Antlers Dangerous?
Deer antlers can be dangerous to other deer, especially during rutting season when the males fight over mating rights and territory. It’s unusual for a deer to use their antlers against humans, but if they do, antlers are heavy and made of solid bone, so are definitely dangerous.
A deer can charge at up to 40mph (65km/h). Their antlers are made of solid bone and weigh up to 15lbs (7kg).
If a deer feels threatened, you will notice them lowering their antlers towards the ground, moving their head from side to side, or stomping their hoof on the ground.
Deer are very unlikely to attack humans, but if you notice these behaviors it’s best to get out of the way if possible.
Related Article: Can you Eat Deer?
Read more about deer aggression on our full Guide to Deer Attacks and how to avoid them.
Deer are very anxious creatures who want to escape danger at any opportunity. They’re low in the food chain meaning they’re always on the watch for predators. So, they’re not likely to be dangerous.
However, the situations when they may be a danger include when protecting their young or during mating season.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.