Skip to Content

Do Deer Attack Humans? (Why They Might)

Do Deer Attack Humans? (Why They Might)

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Many people hunt deer and you might not think of them as particularly threatening animals. It’s certainly true that many people look forward to deer hunting season, and you might have even killed a few deer in your lifetime.

If you’re not a hunter, then you might feel somewhat sorry for deer, but you shouldn’t think of them as helpless. Bucks can actually be quite dangerous and you should respect animals if you wish to stay safe when spending time out in nature.

Do deer attack humans, though, or is that just something that would only happen under bizarre circumstances? Keep reading to learn more about deer and whether or not humans should be worried about getting attacked by deer.

Deer Are Known to Attack Many People Each Year

It actually isn’t uncommon at all for people to get attacked by deer. You don’t hear about deer attacks too often, but it definitely does occur when people are out in nature.

Deer are going to be more aggressive during certain periods of time. Rutting bucks will attack people and can become agitated very easily.

Under normal circumstances, bucks know to be afraid of people, and they will do their best to keep their distance to protect themselves. A rutting buck will choose to attack people instead, and it’s almost as if the animal has become crazy.

Rutting bucks have even been known to destroy saplings while they’re in this state. They do a lot of crazy things, and you’re definitely not going to want to get near a rutting buck.

There are even stories of rutting bucks chasing people down and going after them. Stories have been told where deer have swum across lakes and approached humans violently.

It might seem really weird that deer would be so aggressive, but it’s all because the deer are rutting. For those who aren’t familiar with the “rutting” term, this refers to a period of time when bucks are looking for mates.

All bucks care about when they’re rutting is looking for does that they can mate with. Many types of animals will act differently during mating season, and that means that this makes more sense than you might have originally thought.

Rutting bucks have very strange behavior, and they aren’t nearly as careful as they should be. Hunters welcome rutting bucks because they’re so much easier to track and kill.

Other Reasons Deer Might Attack Humans

Of course, deer won’t only attack humans when they’re rutting. There are other circumstances when deer might choose to attack humans that you should be aware of.

If you’re threatening a deer in some way, then you might find that the deer will attack you as a way to protect itself. Humans who have cornered deer have noted that deer will sometimes attack because it seems like the best potential way out of the situation.

Also, you’ll find that deer will attack humans to try to protect their young. Even a doe might attack a human if it is in an attempt to protect its fawn.

There are many situations that might cause a deer to become violent toward humans, but you can avoid many of them. Knowing to keep a respectful distance away from wild animals such as deer will often be enough to keep you safe so long as you aren’t dealing with a rutting deer.

Stay Away From Deer During Rutting Season

Stay away from rutting deer to avoid getting attacked

If you know when the rutting season is for deer, then you’ll be able to do a better job of being careful. Granted, some deer are prevalent in rural areas, and this means that people might encounter them without wanting to.

Regardless, you can at least be mindful of what times of the year are particularly dangerous to be close to bucks. Rutting season generally occurs in the fall, and that means that you should be extra careful starting in September.

The rutting season could continue into parts of December, and it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to bucks. If you see antlers, then you should definitely try to get to a safe spot that is away from the buck.

Rutting bucks might choose to charge at you if you’re too close to them. Even keeping your distance might not be enough, so going to an area far away from the buck or retreating indoors could be wise.

Stay Away From Fawns

Stay away from fawns to avoid deer attacking humans

Staying away from fawns will also be smart since deer will fight to protect fawns. If you get too close to a fawn, then you could definitely get attacked by a deer.

You might not be trying to harm the fawn in any way, but getting close to one is just a bad idea. A mother deer will typically not hesitate to attack a human if it thinks that it needs to protect its fawn.

Whenever you see a fawn, it’s best to assume that a mother deer is somewhere nearby. Often, mother deer will lurk nearby to keep an eye out for threats, and you might be the threat that the mother deer is assessing.

Most people can understand the parental instincts of wanting to protect your young. It makes sense that a mother deer would get aggressive to protect its fawn, and you should respect that by trying to stay away from fawns.

This isn’t as dangerous as encountering a rutting deer, but that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t get hurt by a mother deer. Do your best to leave the area if you ever find that you’re close to a fawn.

Surviving a Deer Attack

Surviving a deer attack will involve keeping your cool and making good decisions. You’re going to want to try to avoid deer if at all possible, but if you find yourself close to one, then there are actions you can take that might help you to escape harm.

If you see a deer taking an aggressive posture, then you should try to slowly back away. If you can get out of the area without the deer chasing you, then you’ll be good to go.

The deer could just be protecting its territory, and it might allow you to leave without chasing you. If it charges at you, then that’s going to be a different story.

You might be able to intimidate the deer to get it to leave you alone. Continue to face the deer and try to appear as large as you can.

Shout and make loud noise while spreading your arms wide. This could make the deer back down and run away if you’re lucky.

If you’re dealing with a rutting buck, then it might keep charging you and trying to gore you with its antlers. This is a bad situation to be in, but you can try to put something between yourself and the deer.

Get behind a large rock or something else that might be able to keep the deer from getting to you. Some people have even decided to climb trees to get away from attacking deer, and this can work fine so long as you’re a decent climber.

If you do get knocked to the ground by a deer, then they say the best thing to do is to curl up in a fetal position and try to protect your head. It’s possible that the deer might stomp you a bit, but it should lose interest if you don’t seem like a threat after some time.

Admittedly, this is a dangerous situation, and you could get seriously hurt during a deer attack. There is the possibility that a human could get killed by a deer.

Some people have chosen to fight back because they felt it was the best thing to do. People have killed deer with knives or by swinging large branches at them.

Grabbing a really aggressive deer by the antlers might allow you to wrestle it to the ground. You might be able to tire the deer out or slit its throat with something sharp assuming that you’re strong enough to hold it down.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to be put in a situation like this in the first place. Generally, it’s going to be better to try to escape, but you shouldn’t turn your back on an aggressive buck.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, bucks are going to be the most dangerous deer to encounter in the wild. You generally want to avoid them, and this is especially true if you’re dealing with a rutting buck.

Reckless and wild rutting bucks can cause a lot of damage, and it wouldn’t be impossible to get killed or seriously injured by one. For this reason, you should try your best to stay away from areas that you’ll be likely to encounter deer during mating season.

There’s so much to consider about deer attacks, and you definitely need to take things seriously. Wild animals always have the potential to be dangerous.

Even if you don’t usually think of deer as particularly scary animals, it’s important to respect the danger that they present. Keep your wits about you and make good choices so that you can stay safe no matter what time of the year it is.


If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel

Share this post: