There have been several reported cases of deer attacking humans. Attacks are most likely to happen during mating season, when deer feel threatened or are backed into a corner, or when they are protecting their young.
Normally deer are not aggressive. They are skittish animals and tend to run away from humans and avoid unnecessary confrontations. Various reasons might make a deer attack.
When a mother deer feels that the life if it’s young is threatened, they may attack. They are very protective of their young.
Bucks are also highly likely to attack during mating season when in runt. They tend to be very territorial and may see humans as a threat to their mating rights.
Deer are also known to attack when cornered. They use their antlers and hooves to fight through and escape.
When Do Deer Attack Humans?
Attacks on humans from deer are most likely to happen during mating season. They may also come from a doe that is trying to protect its fawn.
Attacks from bucks usually happen because they are frustrated for not finding a mate. During this time their testosterone levels are high and they are itching to pick a fight.
Male bucks are also known to be extremely territorial during this time. When approached during these times they may be seen to paw the ground as a challenge as they prepare to charge. The best thing to do is to avoid approaching them.
Deer are skittish and easy to scare. Try scaring it to try and make it to back down. It is however advisable to just leave. When attacked make sure there is something between you and the deer.
Something like a tree or a rock will help keep the deer from mowing you with the antlers. If possible climb the tree to get as far from it as possible. It will get bored of attacking and leave.
Deer, when cornered, also feel threatened. They may charge at you with their antlers or rear up on the hind legs and attack with their hooves. It is however extremely hard to corner a deer.
Female deer are also known to attack while trying to defend their young. When female deer feel that their fawn is in danger they have been known to attack the predator to try and save their fawns life.
Why Do Deer Attack Humans?
Deer attack when cornered and can’t find a way to escape. Male deer may attack out of frustration during mating season or when trying to defend their territories.
During the mating season, when male deer are experiencing runt, they are extremely dangerous.
It is during these times that their testosterone levels are extremely high. They are known to pick a fight with anybody who they might consider a threat to their mating rights.
Male deer are also known to be extremely territorial during mating season. When their territories are invaded they are often seen pawing the ground as a challenge to the intruder.
More often the attacks could come as a surprise to hikers who might just be taking a stroll through their territories.
Does are extremely protective of their young. They sometimes leave their fawn hidden in the forest undergrowth while they go out to look for food.
They might not stray far away from their child and can see as danger approaches their young. There have been various reported cases of female deer attacking humans who try to reach out and touch their fawn.
Although deer are very skittish animals they have been known to fight their way through when accidentally cornered. They use their large and sharp antlers to fight and break through when their escape route is blocked.
Deer attacks on humans might however come as an accident. The deer might be escaping from another predator when you accidentally cross its escape route.
Deer are known to not look carefully at what they are running towards when scared and might accidentally end up running you over.
How Do Deer Attack Humans?
Deer have various defense mechanisms which include their large and pointed antlers and their sharp front hooves.
Bucks have a tendency of pawing on the ground before charging at you. When they charge at you they do so with their heads slightly bowed and the antlers pointed forward trying to gore into you.
Their antlers are sharp and can pierce through skin and flesh.
Deer are also known to have very hard and sharp hooves. They can rear up on their hind legs and punch with their front hooves. They have been known to kill wild coyotes and wolves using this technique when attacked.
How Dangerous are Deer to Humans?
Deer are not much of a threat to humans, but they are still wild animals and have to be treated with respect. Every year there are reported cases of humans being attacked by deer (sometimes fatally). In the US alone, deer are responsible for two deaths every year on average.
Sources have reported an average of about two deaths per year in the United States of America with many more people being hospitalized because of various injuries which are caused by deer attacks.
Deer have very sharp antlers that can penetrate through virtually any human body parts.
The antlers have the ability to penetrate through skin and flesh and accidentally puncture a blood vessel and other important organs which might end up killing a human
Many injuries have also been reported after a deer attacks someone with their hooves. They have very hard and sharp hooves that can cause serious damage when they stomp at you.
How to Avoid a Deer Attack?
Deer are not normally a threat to humans and tend to flee rather than fight.
Here are some simple steps to stay safe around deer:
- Leave them alone to avoid agitating them
- Stay away from rutting males
- Wave your hands and make noise to scare them away
- Avoid turning your back on them
- Stay away from their fawns as they are very protective
Avoid agitating the deer as much as possible. This is especially helpful when it comes to rutting bucks.
Avoid moving towards an agitated deer whenever possible. Try to scare it off by waving your hands and making a lot of noise. If this does not work try and slowly back away from it. Avoid turning your backs to the deer as this will leave you open to a sudden attack.
You can also avoid attacks from deer by staying away from hidden fawn. Fawn Are often left alone as their mothers go to feed, but this does not mean that they are far away. The doe are very protective of their young and are known to attack predators.
When attacked be sure that there is something between you and the deer. Put either a tree or a rock between you and the deal to avoid getting gored by the deer. If you are an excellent climber you can try climbing the tree to escape from the deer.
Read More about Deer:
Deer attacks although rare, can be very fateful. Several people have lost their lives as a result of these attacks. Be vigilant when hiking. All in all, be sure to respect nature.
and climb the tree to get as far away from the deer as you can.
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.