PRESTON -- Idaho Fish and Game officials say they shot and killed a large, aggressive mule deer buck suspected of threatening several people in a rural area near Preston, ID. The incidents happened last October and then again this spring.
On Sept. 30th, 2011, Sue Panter was on a stroll near her home in rural southeastern Idaho when the buck first attacked. Officials say the animal raked Panter's body with its antlers, and gored her legs.
Afterwards, IDFG officers tried to find and kill the aggressive deer, but were unsuccessful. At the time, reports indicated the buck in the attack was a young adult, which on average weigh about 250 pounds.
Officials say they suspect the same rogue animal struck again last week.
David Priestley of Franklin, ID told IDFG officials that he was hunting marmots with his 9-year old son, Tate, and his 9-year old nephew, Mason Priestley, about a half mile from the location of the previous mule deer attack.
According to IDFG media representative Jennifer Jackson, the buck was "raking it's head," stomping, and circling the man and his children.
“At that point, I used my cell phone to call Officer Korey Owens [with Fish and Game],” Priestley told IDFG officers. “When he asked me where the deer was, I told him ‘standing 8 feet in front of me.’”
IDFG officials say the aggressive deer remained in its position until Officer Owens arrived at the scene. They say Owens then determined that the location, size and apparent age of the buck were consistent with the deer that had attacked Sue Panter last fall.
Because of concerns for the deer and public safety, Owens then shot and killed the animal.
The buck's remains were then sent to the state's Wildlife Health Laboratory in Caldwell for testing.
Blake Phillips, Regional Conservation Officer for Fish and Game’s southeast region, says behavior like this is typical of deer which have been hand-raised or “tamed” by people. “It is incidents like this that remind us why it is against the law for people to rear wildlife as pets. Animals who have become accustomed or even imprinted on people do not fare well in the wild on their own, and can become nuisances and even dangerous to the public,” Phillips said.
Unprovoked attacks by domesticated or “pet” deer, though very rare, have been reported before in Idaho.