Wildlife officers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife are hunting for a young mule deer buck that attacked an elderly woman over the weekend. They plan to euthanize the deer if found, according to a Sunday press release.
The 67-year-old victim, whose identity has not been released, was attacked by the buck on Saturday outside her home in Silver Cliff, a small town of about 600 that lies 55 miles west of Pueblo. Soon after she stepped outside her front door, the buck charger her, lowering its antlers and goring her in the left leg. (Graphic image warning: photo below.) The woman was able to get back inside and call her husband, who notified authorities immediately. The victim suffered a deep puncture wound and serious bruising on her lower left leg, and she was taken to a hospital in Pueblo for treatment. Her current medical condition remains unknown.
When she reported the attack to CPW, the victim described the mule deer as a young, fork-horned buck. She told officials that the buck went back to sparring with another young buck in her yard soon after the attack.
CPW officials investigated the scene later that day and found a bird feeder in the yard. The victim also explained that she regularly feeds the birds by hand and had thrown out bread earlier that day. This, along the fact that the attack occurred just outside someone’s front door, led officials to believe that the deer was associating people with food and had lost its fear of humans.
“I believe this is a good example of what happens when deer lose their natural fear of humans,” CPW Area Wildlife Manager Mike Brown said in the press release. “They become aggressive and dangerous. This is a good reminder that wild animals should always be treated as such, and that people need to give wildlife the space they need.”
Wildlife officers were still searching for the buck as of Monday afternoon, according to CPW public information officer Bill Vogrin. Saturday’s attack is the second of its kind documented in Colorado this year. In mid-October, another woman was attacked by an aggressive mule deer buck while playing basketball on a public court in Aspen. She suffered minor injuries to her arms while shielding her face, but declined medical attention, according to CPW. A subsequent investigation determined that the victim did nothing to instigate the attack. Officials also learned that the same deer had been acting aggressively and approaching other people in town. That deer was located and euthanized.