Every animal has a fight or flight instinct that they rely on to survive. For whitetail deer, this instinct is usually flight. However, a buck in Minnesota decided to “buck” the trend and stand his ground and fight.
The life of a farmer isn’t an easy one and dealing with aggressive deer doesn’t make it any easier. On Thursday, August 2, as Mark Christianson was finishing spraying the soybeans on his farm 10 miles south of Fertile, Minnesota, he spotted a deer on his property. The deer also noticed Christianson, but instead of scampering away, it approached Christianson, coming closer and closer until it struck.
“He was pummeling me, standing on his hind legs and hitting me with the front ones. He hammered me good, rapid fire, and I thought, ‘Well, this isn’t good.’ I wasn’t winning, so I grabbed him and tackled him and we both went down on the ground.”
Christianson managed to pin the deer and then ran into his house to grab his .30-06 rifle. His wife, Judy, was in the house napping when she heard Mark shouting “he got me, he got me!”
“Mark was dripping blood all over, and his ear looked like it had been tore off,” Judy told Reporter Chuck Haga with the Grand Forks Herald. “He was shaking and trying to load bullets into his gun. I didn’t know what to think.”
A bruised and bloodied Mark Christianson retells his story.
The wounded farmer went back outside and found the buck still standing his ground. He took aim with his rifle and fired, striking the deer in the gut. The animal took off over a hill, but Christianson followed and finished him off with follow-up shots.
Though he managed to successfully defend himself, Chrisitianson did not escape unscathed. The skin on his arms, chest and face carried pink and purple bruises and he was left with two nasty black eyes.
This wasn’t their first encounter with the aggressive deer. It had been coming into close contact with both Mark and Judy for days eating their crabapples and flowers.
The couple noted he had sounded sick because he was wheezing. Before the fight ever took place, Christianson had placed a call to the Norman County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“It is an odd one,” DNR Wildlife Supervisor for the Detroit Lakes area Blane Klemek said. “Deer normally are afraid of people. We don’t know why this one would attack this guy. But it’s always a concern when we get calls from the public about an animal acting strangely.”
There were no indications that this deer was domestically raised, as DNR officers found no tags or other evidence of human contact.
The deer’s carcass was sent to the University of Minnestoa Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in St. Paul for testing. Disease specialists ruled out rabies, but so far have found a few parasite’s in the deer’s liver. They continue to check for chronic wasting disease or Lyme disease.