Nebraska woman severely injured in apparent mule deer attack

Deer attacks on humans can occur for a variety of reasons. While rutting, bucks become more aggressive. Disease, domestication, injury and protection of young also could lead to encounters with humans. (North Dakota Game and Fish Department)

LINCOLN, Neb. – A woman was severely injured in an incident with a mule deer buck on a farm near Guide Rock on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

The woman was doing chores alone when she apparently was attacked by the deer. She was discovered some time later and transported to a Lincoln hospital.

“This was a tragic encounter, and my sympathy is with the injured woman and her family,” said Alicia Hardin, wildlife administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Deer attacks on people are extremely rare, and we are investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident.”

The time of the incident is unknown, but a 911 call was made Tuesday evening, and the Webster County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the incident.

A responding conservation officer, who later shot and killed the deer, said the animal showed no fear of him. Deer, which are extremely strong and unpredictable, normally do not approach humans.

The deer was transported to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Veterinary Diagnostic Center for a necropsy, where it tested negative for rabies. Although uncommon, rabies can infect deer.

Deer attacks on humans can occur for a variety of reasons. While rutting, bucks become more aggressive. Disease, domestication, injury and protection of young also could lead to encounters with humans.

While the Commission still is investigating the circumstances of this incident, it receives several reports of individuals feeding or domesticating wildlife each year. Domestication typically occurs when animals are either raised from a young age or repeatedly exposed to humans through feeding or other nonthreatening encounters. Domestication results in wild animals losing their natural fear of humans, causing the potential for more conflicts between wildlife and humans.

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