A deer that attacked a Franktown man Nov. 13 is suspected to have been raised by people, according to a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The 56-year-old man was treated at a local hospital for his injuries and released.
The deer, which was estimated to weigh about 150 pounds, was put down by a Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy after displaying "aggressive behavior," according to the news release.
Here's what the release said happened:
The man and his wife told Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers that they saw what was a “friendly deer” fitted with a fluorescent orange dog collar on the other side of their fence around 4:50 p.m.
The wife said she reached over the fence and the deer approached, touching her finger with its nose. The buck then came through a break in the fence line, approached the woman and knocked her back, pinning her into the barbed-wire fence.
The husband tried to intervene and the deer attacked, knocking him to the ground and dragging him around the yard. He was injured in his lower body from the buck's antlers.
The wife then ran inside and called 911. She shot a pellet gun toward the buck, and the deer was distracted long enough for the man to get behind a boat in the yard to separate himself from the buck.
Wildlife officers believe the deer was domesticated and set free in the area recently. Before Nov. 13, Colorado Parks and Wildlife had no previous reports of a collared deer in the area.
“Every indication we see points to this deer being raised by people, one from its collar and two from its behavior,” wildlife officer Casey Westbrook said in the release. “We suspect somebody was raising it and released it after they couldn't handle it anymore.
“These are some of the dangers that come when you try to domesticate, or even just feed wildlife, which is a major issue we start to see this time of year. These animals learn to expect something from humans and when they don't get it, they become dangerous and encounters like what we saw here can happen. Mix in the fact that deer are now in the breeding season, and this all contributed to something that could have been prevented.”
A concerned resident told Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Nov. 13 about a Facebook post that showed a photo of a man interacting with this deer on Nov. 9, the release said.
Wildlife officers contacted the man in the Facebook post, who said the buck had approached him Nov. 9 while he was doing yard work at his home in Elizabeth. The man said the deer had attempted to push him around with its antlers and showed the officers several pictures of him fending off the animal, the release said.
CPW received another report about 4:45 p.m. Nov. 13 of the same deer that had chased a 10-year-old boy near Tomichi Drive and Caribou Drive in Franktown before a man pulled his car in between the child and the deer to prevent an attack, the release said. The incident involving the 10-year-old was just down the road from where the man was gored by the deer minutes later.
“If this was reported to CPW on Saturday instead of being posted on Facebook, we might have been able to prevent this,” Westbrook said in the release. “The behavior of any wild animal can be unpredictable, and the behavior of wildlife that get domesticated can be demanding and aggressive.”
It is illegal to own or possess wildlife in Colorado.
“Colorado's wild animals should stay wild,” Westbrook said.
If anyone has information of people raising or attempting to domesticate wildlife, it should be reported to CPW by calling 303-291-7227. It can also be done anonymously through Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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