Do Deer Attack Humans? (Yes, They Might)

By: Mario
Updated:

It’s pretty common knowledge that we as humans hunt deer, but what about the role reversal? Do deers ever attack us, humans, back?

Well, though you may not instantly picture a deer when I ask you to imagine a dangerous or volatile animal, they are quite far from helpless and docile animals.

And if you are out in nature, you should always give these animals the respect they deserve, that is if you want to avoid becoming seriously injured. 

But the question still remains, do deer attack humans?

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about deer in the wild and whether or not they are an animal that you will safe encountering.

So, let’s get straight to it. 

Deer Attacks Are More Common Than You Might Think 

It may surprise you to read this, but deer attacks are actually relatively common.

I can see why this might shock you because deer attack reports aren’t anywhere near as common.

You don’t really tend to hear about them all that much, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening. 

It is also important to note that there are times during the year when these animals will be more aggressive.

And this is typical during rutting.

Rutting and Breeding Season

For those who aren’t aware, rutting is essentially breeding season for deer and during this time, bucks have a tendency to be pretty aggressive and easily agitated.

If you are to irritate a buck during this time, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll provoke an attack.

Bucks can attack humans, and probably will attack during the rutting period. 

To be honest, a standard buck and a rutting buck are almost like two completely different animals.

Under most normal circumstances, bucks are usually afraid of humans and will try to keep their distance from you to protect themselves.

But not during this period. And the power behind these creatures is not something to be underestimated.

Rutting Bucks Can Be Violent

Rutting bucks have been known to completely destroy samplings and have even chased down people, swam across lakes to get to them, and then act incredibly violently once close enough. 

This change in personality probably stems from the fact that their only concern is mating.

And we’ve seen time and time again how the behavior of animals can completely change during this period.

It even happens with humans during the ovulation and fertile periods.

But because of this one-track mind for mating, many deer become a lot more reckless which is why many deer hunters enjoy rutting bucks since it makes them considerably easier to hunt. 

Other Circumstances That Cause Deer To Attack

While rutting is usually the main cause of a deer attack, there are other situations in which a deer may attack a human. 

The first is that the deer feels threatened. These types of situations should be somewhat expected.

For example, if you are to corner a deer, it is going to be a natural instinct for that deer to then try and defend and protect itself.

And so it is likely that a deer will try and attack if it feels it cannot successfully evade the situation. 

Their Young are Threatened

The second is when the deer feels as if their young are threatened. This behavior is also pretty self-explanatory.

Would a human parent not defend their child with their own life if they believed they were in great danger?

Both bucks and does have been known to attack a human to protect their fawn. 

Most of these situations, outside of rutting season, involve provoking the animal into the attack, and so many of these cases are avoidable.

You won’t find very often that a deer who is not in mating season will actively go out of their way to attack a human so as long as you are respectful and keep your distance, it is unlikely that you will get attacked by a deer out of rutting season

Surviving A Deer Attack

So, we’ve established that to avoid a deer attack, you really only need to avoid the animal during rutting season and stay clear of their young.

But should you not be able to avoid an attack, it is imperative to know the steps to take to survive one

The main thing you’ll want to do is keep a clear and calm head where possible.

If you notice a deer in close proximity take on a fairly aggressive posture, you need to slowly back away.

You don’t want to move too quickly and encourage the deer to chase you, so carefully retreat where possible.

Territorial Deer

If the deer is simply being territorial, then you may be lucky enough to be allowed to leave without a chase. 

If the deer does decide to chase you, we have a very different scenario on our hands.

In this case, you need to try and intimidate the deer. Stand as tall as you can, spread your arms wide, and make loud noises.

Hopefully, this will make the deer retreat. 

If it does not you are in an incredibly dangerous situation. You should try and find cover behind a large rock or scale a tree in this case.

If you do get hit, you should curl up into the fetal position and try to protect your head. 

Final Thoughts

Getting attacked by a deer is a very scary and dangerous situation to find yourself in. You should try and avoid this at all costs.

And to avoid this situation it is important to understand that deer can and have attacked humans.

This tends to happen the most during rutting season so it is best to try and avoid the animal during this period.

You should also always be respectful and keep your distance from them and certainly their young.

If you do this, it is likely that you will never provoke an attack, but there is always that chance which is why it is important to know how to handle the situation should it arise.