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As far as most hunters are concerned, man is the predator and whitetails are the prey.

But whitetails are extremely powerful animals. With massive antlers, thick muscular necks and pointed hooves, there’s no question a 200-pound whitetail could inflict some serious damage. Don’t let the does fool you either! Just because they don’t have antlers doesn’t mean they can’t hurt you. Ever see two deer up on their hind legs while swatting their front legs during a “boxing match”?

Mark Christianson, a 66-year-old farmer from Minnesota, recently experienced one of these boxing matches firsthand – only he was one of the contenders.

Christianson crossed paths with a buck feeding in his yard as he headed out to finish spraying his soybeans. It’s a common sight for Christianson and his wife to watch over a dozen whitetails feeding in their yard, but on this day one of the bucks wasn’t having it and started approaching Christianson, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Christianson started shouting at the deer to get it to run off, but the buck continued to gain ground. In the blink of an eye, the buck was on its hind legs and began swatting at Christianson “rapid fire.”

Realizing the boxing match was a losing battle, Christianson tackled the whitetail to the ground and was able to get inside quick enough to load his .30-06 and put a few rounds through the deer.

The deer might have lost the war, but Christianson lost the battle and has black eyes and purple bruises to show for it.

Just a few days earlier, Christianson spotted the buck by one of his sheds. He knew something wasn’t right when the buck came within eight feet of him instead of running away. Once inside the shed, he watched as the buck pressed its nose up against the window.

Later that week Christianson’s wife had an encounter with the same deer as it approached her while she was out hanging clothes. The couple noticed the deer had some sort of wheeze and contacted the local authorities and the DNR to let them know about the potentially sick animal. Unfortunately, the deer got to Christianson before the authorities got to the deer.

The body of the deer was sent to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for disease testing, but so far they’ve found nothing other than a few parasites in the deer’s liver. Whether that’s what caused the odd behavior or not is up for debate.

Thankfully, Christianson is all right and was able to walk away from the fight. It illustrates a very important point: Don’t ever forget that whitetail deer are wild animals.

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