‘Watch your animals.’ Video shows deer’s attack on Charlotte family’s dog

·4 min read

Beware if you see deer near your home.

It’s mating season, when bucks have high testosterone levels and can attack you and your pets.

At least one such case occurred in the Charlotte area this week, with a deer seriously hurting one family’s dog.

The dog is recovering at a veterinary hospital after an enraged deer repeatedly attacked the devoted pet in their yard, a video posted on Facebook by the south Charlotte homeowner shows.

Finn, a 3-year-old Goldendoodle, suffered multiple puncture wounds and a collapsed lung, Roger Hunter posted on Facebook with video of Monday’s terrifying encounter.

Hunter’s wife, Tracy, is shown in the video scaring the buck off by waving a towel at the animal.

Finn was in serious but stable condition after Tracy Hunter, with help from a neighbor, carried the dog into her car and drove it to Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital, Roger Hunter posted on Facebook.

Finn was later transferred to Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center on South Boulevard, according to Hunter, a retired Charlotte firefighter.

The family lives near a wooded area roughly between Sharon Road West and South Mecklenburg High School.

Finn chased a doe just before the buck attacked the dog, Hunter said.

“Please pray for a full recovery but most of all pray for Tracy,” Hunter said a followup post. “This was very devastating and disturbing for her. But she actually saved Finns life. No doubt!”

Roger Hunter couldn’t be reached by The Charlotte Observer.

On NextDoor on Friday, he said doctors planned to remove a chest tube from Finn on Saturday “and he should be able to come home Sunday ... He is doing great. Thanks for all your posts and prayers. You all are so kind.”

Also Tuesday, a Tega Cay, S.C., woman said on NextDoor that a doe attacked her dog in the backyard of her home.

“She put her hoof through his chest — probably had a young deer nearby,” the woman posted. “$740 vet bill, drainage tube, stitches, cone of shame for 3 weeks.

“Thankful it wasn’t a grandchild,” she said.

Deer mating season

The encounters came during the October-November deer mating season, when bucks act particularly aggressive, according to the hunting blog HuntingHeart.com.

“During rutting season, deer can be dangerous neighbors,” headlined a 2011 article by a senior wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game.

Bucks “are not ‘friendly’ and should be given a wide berth, but even younger, smaller deer are very strong and unpredictable and should never be approached in any way,” the biologist warned.

Still, such encounters are “super, super rare,” according to Sampson Parker Jr., the only state Wildlife Resources Commission enforcement officer based in Mecklenburg County.

“But that buck apparently wasn’t going to let anything get in its way,” Parker told the Observer on Friday.

“Normally they just run off,” Parker said of deer, and people have nothing to fear.

He wonders if the dog may have kept “egging it on” by chasing the animal, but his agency wasn’t called to the scene to investigate, he said.

The estimated peak rut date for Mecklenburg County was Nov. 21, according to the wildlife commission. Parker said the season can stretch into December.

Media outlets also have reported attacks in spring, when does give birth.

Regardless, a deer will attack a dog any time of year if the animal feels threatened, “by gorging it or handing it brutal kicks,” according to HuntingHeart.com.

Attacks have occurred nationwide over the years:

In Atlanta in 2018, a doe stomped on a woman’s basset hound after she said the the animal stared her two dogs down and charged at them, The Associated Press reported. The dog suffered only minor injuries.

In Washington state in 2019, a “truculent” deer killed a dog, seriously hurt another and went after humans in the same neighborhood, the South Whidbey Record reported at the time.

And in 2016, a distraught Arkansas woman said a doe that may have felt threatened killed her 16-year-old dachshund in the woman’s fenced-in backyard, according to outdoors site RealTree.com.

Hunter, the Charlotte resident, urged fellow pet owners to stay vigilant.

“Watch your animals,” he said on Facebook. “Nature rules. The Buck was doing what comes natural.”

Estimated peak rut dates for deer in North Carolina.
Estimated peak rut dates for deer in North Carolina.
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