For many hunters, there is nothing better than starting off a new year with a freezer full of venison. Sometimes, however, the would-be venison strikes back. According to Action Reporter Media, an unidentified 72-year-old man in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin was transported by ambulance to a local hospital after he was “ambushed” by a wounded deer on January 2. The Fond du Lac Sheriff’s office said that the man was out hunting with family when he shot a doe with a crossbow. It was when the man went to retrieve the animal that the deer came out of the woods and attacked him.
“Apparently the man was going through some thick brush and the deer leaped out and went after him,” said Sergeant Jeff Bonack. “The doe struck him in the leg with her head.”
The hunter’s condition is unknown and deputies suspect that doe escaped without being recovered.
Tracking injured deer can sometimes be risky, even when handled properly. Like all other wild animals, deer will act to protect themselves when injured, and oftentimes this means going straight through the hunter standing between themselves and escape. Sometimes these attacks can happen even before a single shot was fired. The Democrat & Chronicle reported that a hunter was struck and knocked down by a deer while hunting in New York last month. Unable to get up on his own, the hunter fired his shotgun into the air to alert fellow hunters. When he was discovered by his brother, the hunters found a single hoof mark clearly imprinted on the back of his clothes.
Wildlife experts advise hunters to practice proper caution when approaching an injured or downed deer. Bucks can be especially dangerous due to their antlers, but all adult deer are strong animals and capable of doing a lot of damage.
“A deer down is not necessarily a deer dead,” advised the Missouri Department of Conservation. “A wounded deer can hurt you, so reload and watch the deer from a short distance. If you do not detect movement for a few minutes, approach cautiously from behind the deer’s head. Set your firearm or bow aside only after you are certain the deer is dead. If the eye does not blink when touched with a stick, it’s yours.”