Aggressive deer encounters have wildlife officials encouraging caution

Oct 10, 2022, 2:00 PM
Three deer are pictured, aggressive deer have wildlife officials giving warnings...
Deer forage near the Wakara Way in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 24, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY– After two families in Bountiful, Utah and Evanston, Wyoming reported encounters with aggressive deer, wildlife officials are asking people to be extra careful around the animals this fall.

“People don’t really think that they can be dangerous because they are not a predator, but that is a misconception,” Faith Heaton Jolley, public information officer for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said.

A Utah woman was gored by a buck last week after encountering it outside her home.


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It turns out mating season could be the culprit behind the recent incidents. Jolley said males are more prone to aggression during the season that typically runs from October to early December.

“They’re just more hormonal during the breeding season and they kind of become more territorial as they’re competing for a female,” Jolley said.

Jolley shared some tips on how to be safe around deer this fall:

  • Keep pets inside, especially at night.
  • Don’t feed deer during mating season.
  • Give the animals plenty of space. Ideally if one is agitated, it’ll go on its way if you back off and create more space.
  • If a deer, elk or moose charges you, run. Try to get behind a tree and stay there until the animal leaves.
  • If you are attacked, especially by a moose, protect your head and play dead until the animal moves on.

Utah state rule R657-63-3 allows people to kill an animal in defense of themselves, another person or a domestic animal if they feel that they are in imminent danger. However, Jolley said preventative measures go a long way in avoiding those situations.

Related: Zion National Park announces Fat Squirrel Week… it might not be what you think

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Aggressive deer encounters have wildlife officials encouraging caution