Although rare, whitetails have been known to hurt people.
QUESTION: I was in my yard this evening toward dusk and looked down our hill and saw a buck staring at me. I was filling my bird feeders and thought he would run off, but he stood for about 15 minutes just looking at me. I finished what I was doing and went onto my porch, and he just stayed there and even got closer. It was kind of intimidating, and I was wondering if bucks ever attack people in the mating season. — Leslie K.
ANSWER: Although extremely rare, it does occur. In fact, there’s an video clip that’s been circulating on the internet and airwaves for years of an unfortunate Texas hunter being pummeled by a randy buck. I’ve also heard of several (unconfirmed) incidents involving the over-use of estrous doe scent. Finally, most any deer breeder will tell you never get in a pen with a buck during the peak of rut.
It’s hard to say exactly why it happens, but we know wild whitetail bucks sometimes do crazy and unexpected things when amped up on testosterone. They occasionally seem to lose their fear of humans and wander around in the middle of the day. They also become extremely aggressive, mostly toward other deer and hapless vegetation. But if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
Another Deer Disease: Although whitetails can get this disease, it’s not something to worry about.
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