EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A deer that was illegally raised by people was euthanized after it attacked a woman in El Paso County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Friday.
According to CPW, the attack occurred in the Black Forest area on Friday morning as the victim was walking her dog along a wooded path.
“The attack comes after CPW wildlife officers received tips that a neighbor of the victim was feeding the 1 ½-year-old buck – and even raised it after it was orphaned – in violation of state law,” CPW said in a statement. “CPW had been investigating the tips, but officers had been unable to verify the claims, or catch the neighbor in the act of feeding the deer, before Friday’s attack.”
The woman told CPW she thought the deer wanted to be “snuggled” when it approached her and her dog. When she reached out toward the deer, the animal jabbed her in the abdomen with his antlers.
“When she realized she was under attack, the victim said she dropped her dog, grabbed the deer’s antlers and she and the animal fell to the ground. It gored her until she was able to regain her feet” CPW said.
The neighbor then ran to her garage. She entered her security code to open the door and was attacked by the deer again. She was eventually able to get between two cars in the garage to end the attack.
She was cut on her head, cheek and legs. She was taken to a Colorado Springs hospital in an ambulance and is expected to recover, CPW said. As of Friday evening, she was still in the hospital.
Late Friday morning, a CPW officer outside the victim’s home was approached by a deer with obvious blood on its antlers.
“Given the aggressive nature of the buck and the visible blood on its antlers, the officer euthanized the deer,” CPW said.
The agency interviewed people in the neighborhood, including the person accused of raising the deer. CPW said that person will be issued a citation upon the conclusion of the ongoing investigation.
“This is another sad example of what happens when people feed wildlife,” said Frank McGee, the CPW area wildlife manager for the Pikes Peak region. “They become habituated to people, lose their fear and become aggressive and dangerous.
“This buck showed no fear of the woman and her dog. And when our officer responded to the scene, it approached within a few feet. This tells me the deer was very comfortable around people. Dangerously comfortable. It viewed humans as a source of food.”
CPW said human interaction with wildlife has become more common in Colorado, especially along the Front Range, where there is rapid population growth.
“This is why it is illegal to feed deer and why we urge people to make them feel uncomfortable in neighborhoods,” McGee said. “The issue is far more serious than ruined landscaping or even the car wrecks they cause on a daily basis on our roads.”
The deer was taken to a lab for a rabies test and necropsy.
According to CPW, a young boy was attacked by a deer in Colorado Springs in June, and a 72-year-old woman was seriously injured in an attack in Black Forest in 2017.