Does Deer Attack Humans?

Basit Ali Chaudhary

Deer attacks on humans are relatively rare, but they can occur under certain circumstances. Deer are generally timid creatures and prefer to avoid humans. However, they may become aggressive if they feel threatened or cornered, especially during their mating season (known as the rut) or when protecting their young. Male deer, or bucks, are more likely to become aggressive than does or female deer. They may perceive humans as threats and attack them. 

Despite the rarity of deer attacks, care must always be taken while approaching deer in the wild. Keep a safe distance away from them, refrain from approaching them, and be alert for any signals of aggression like stamping, snorting, or cocking their ears.

What are the reasons behind deer attacking humans?

Below are some situations when deer might display aggressive behavior toward humans:

Mating season: Male deer (bucks) may become aggressive to people during the mating season, which typically takes place in the autumn (October and November). This is due to the fact that they are more prone to attack if they see people or other bucks as possible threats. Additionally, because of sexual activity, their blood flow and testosterone levels are elevated, which makes them more prone to be violent. 

I’ve seen bucks blinded by an opponent’s antlers and several with bleeding puncture wounds in necks, shoulders and sides.


Protecting offspring: Female deer (does) can be fiercely protective of their fawns, especially during the spring and early summer when the fawns are very young. If a human gets too close to a fawn, the doe may perceive it as a threat and become aggressive.

Cornered or injured: If a deer feels cornered or trapped, it will react aggressively out of fear. Similarly, an injured deer may become aggressive as well if it perceives a human as a threat while it’s in a vulnerable state.

Are deer afraid of humans?

Deer are shy mammals, and they avoid human interactions. They are proactive as well and they consider humans as their predators and that’s why they will normally run if they see someone coming near them.  

Deer are generally cautious and skittish around humans, as they are naturally prey animals and instinctively avoid potential threats. While individual deer may show varying degrees of fear or wariness around humans, they generally maintain a safe distance to protect themselves. However, deer living in areas with frequent human contact, such as urban parks or neighborhoods, may become habituated to human presence and show less fear over time.

How common are deer attacks on humans?

Due to deer’s natural timidity and propensity to avoid humans, attacks by deer against people are quite uncommon. Most interactions between deer and humans occur without incident. However, when deer attacks do happen, they are often related to the situations mentioned earlier, such as mating season, protecting offspring, or when the deer is cornered, injured, or habituated to humans.

While the exact number of deer attacks on humans is not well-documented, it is important to remember that they are infrequent compared to other types of wildlife encounters.

Are there specific species of deer more likely to attack humans?

Some species of deer may be more likely to display aggressive behavior towards humans due to their size, habitat, or other factors. Here are a few examples:

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus): Found throughout much of North America, white-tailed deer are the most common deer species to encounter humans due to their extensive range and adaptability to various habitats, including urban and suburban areas. Although they are not too big in size but still, they may show aggression against humans. 

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus): Mule deer are found in western North America and are similar in size to white-tailed deer. They are also comparatively more aggressive than white-tail deer. They are reportedly seen attacking small pets, charging people, and attacking kids. Even one report states that they are also seen attacking rottweilers. 

Red deer (Cervus elaphus): Red deer are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and have been introduced to other parts of the world, such as New Zealand and Argentina. They are larger than white-tailed mule deer. Both male and female red deer can show aggression and attack humans with their huge antlers. 

Moose (Alces alces): Moose are part of the deer family (Cervidae) and are the largest members of this family. Moose can be found in northern parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. They can be more unpredictable and aggressive and can cause serious injuries due to their big size antlers and strong hooves. 

What are the potential injuries that can result from a deer attack?

A major injury is not expected to be caused by deer attacks, but a brutal attack can lead to one. The extent and severity of the injuries depend on factors such as the size and species of the deer, the type of attack, and the circumstances of the encounter. Some potential injuries that can result from a deer attack include:

Cuts and lacerations: Deer, especially males with antlers, can cause cuts and lacerations to the skin with their sharp antler points.

Bruises and contusions: If a deer charges or kicks a person, it can result in bruising and contusions from the impact.

Puncture wounds: A deer’s hooves are sharp, and if a person is kicked or stepped on, it can result in puncture wounds.

Broken bones: The force of a deer’s charge or kick can be strong enough to cause broken bones, particularly if the person falls or is struck in a vulnerable area.

Head injuries: If a person falls or is struck in the head during a deer attack, it can result in head injuries, such as concussions or skull fractures.

What to Do if a Deer Attacks You? And how to Avoid a Deer Attack?

If a deer attacks you, it’s important to know how to react to minimize the risk of injury. Here are some steps to take if you find yourself in this situation:

Stay calm: Panicking may worsen the situation. Try to remain calm and composed so you can assess the situation and act accordingly. Smartly try to leave the place, then slowly begin to head back.

Make yourself look bigger: Raise your arms, stand on your toes, and make loud noises to intimidate the deer and discourage it from continuing its attack.

Protect your head and vital organs: Use your arms, hands, or any available object to shield your head, neck, and chest from potential kicks and antler strikes.

Create distance: If possible, slowly, and cautiously back away from the deer while maintaining eye contact. Do not turn your back on the animal, as this may encourage it to charge.

Find a barrier: If available, place an obstacle such as a tree, fence, or vehicle between you and the deer to discourage further aggression.

Climb to safety: If the deer continues to pursue you, try to climb a tree or other elevated structure to escape its reach.

If the deer knocks you down: Curl into a ball, protect your head and neck with your arms, and remain as still as possible until the deer loses interest and leaves.

Keep dogs leashed: A dog chasing a deer may provoke an aggressive response from the deer. Keep your dog on a leash when in areas with deer populations.

Related Posts

What Does Deer Poop Look Like?

How Much Does Deer Weigh?

What Is A Male Deer Called?

Is It Good To Hunt Deer In The Rain?

Leave a Comment