Friday, March 2, 2012

Dangerous Deer

Deer attacks dog
What is the most deadly animal in the United States?  Well of course, deer - after all that is the title of this article.  I suspect we all know someone who has hit a deer with a vehicle.  Most of the time this is just a traumatic and expensive occurrence but since 1998, over 140 people a year have died in deer-vehicle collisions.  This number is climbing; up to 223 in 2007.*  Deer versus vehicle accidents kill more people yearly than all other animal related deaths, including insect stings, snake bites, dogs and crocodiles.** 

A less appreciated side to deer danger is the rare "deer attack"  as reported occasionally in the news, such as in USA Today a few years back.  Although uncommon, attacks are not unheard of and have occurred when people were walking their dogs or occasionally totally unprovoked.  Other attacks, like some snake bites and other injuries from wild life, could be called justifiable assault, showing that not all of the "dumb animals" have four legs.  This dramatic video shows such a provoked "deer attack."

As humans increasingly encroach into the wild, and deer populations swell due to lack of predators, we can expect more hostile encounters in the future.  Here are some thoughts to help you maintain peace with Bambi.
  • Do not feed deer.  They are healthier with their natural foods and they may become defensive if they become habituated to a food source.
  • Don't approach deer, especially mothers with fawns.  You never know just what it is thinking but it probably isn't saying "Awww, isn't he/she cute" like you are.  Observe them from a distance.
  • Just like being in a biker bar, avoid bucks in rut.  Testosterone can be dangerous to your health.
**Animal Related Fatalities, 1991-2001 PDF

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