SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — State wildlife officials are warning residents about illegally raising and keeping wild deer as pets after releasing a video of a man being gored by an aggressive buck that had lost its natural fear of humans in Newton County.
Officials with the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources posted the video on the agency’s Facebook page to help show residents the danger in trying to domesticate a wild deer.
The video shows an unidentified man in Newton County standing on the patio of a home and using a broom to try to shoo away a mature male deer that had been ramming a barbecue grill with its antlers.
Because the deer had lost its natural fear of humans, the buck attacked and gored the man — who received stitches to his forearm and endured an eight-hour stay in a hospital emergency room.
They wrote that the incident began when two Newton County residents heard a loud commotion on their back patio. They saw the buck using its antlers to “bash around their grill.”
“The resident attempted to yell at the buck to frighten it off — which should have been more than enough — but the buck paid the resident no attention and went back to ramming the grill.”
A friend seeking to help the residents did not know the deer had been illegally hand-raised, DNR wrote. He first attempted to yell at the buck and wave the broom high in the air to scare it but the animal ignored him.
He then used the broom to try to shoo the buck away, the posting stated.
“Only then did (the man) swing the broom at the buck, thinking surely the deer would back off. As you can see, that’s not how the story ended.
“While this buck had shown no prior aggression, he was a recognized guest amongst area residents,” DNR officials wrote.
“As a growing fawn, the act of feeding and interacting with this deer seemed harmless. However, as the buck matured, the testosterone kicked in.
“As testosterone levels rise, antlers mineralize and harden and bucks increase their sparring frequency and intensity to establish dominance and breeding rights.
“In the wild, deer ensure their distance from humans. Once that fear of people has dissipated, however, an aggressive, testosterone-filled buck can become extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, we see situations such as this occur every year.”
It is illegal to keep wild deer as pets in Georgia, they wrote.
“Habituating and humanizing deer has serious and dangerous consequences for both humans and the animal.
“Far too often, fawns are illegally hand-raised after being mistaken as orphans because of (female deer’s) natural behavior of leaving them for extended periods of time.
“While well-intended, the improper care of a wild animal often results in an early death or a life in captivity. In the state of Georgia, you must be licensed to rehabilitate wildlife.”
They asked that those who see tame or pet deer to contact the Law Enforcement Division of Georgia DNR Ranger Hotline at 800-241-4113.
“While you may hesitant to call due to the potential for the animal to be euthanized, please know that you are doing the right thing. It reduces the risk of human injury, improper care and treatment of the animal, and disease transmission.”
To see the video, visit https://fb.watch/eSvakJ6zM0/.