Q: a) This deer wandered up on the farm last bow hunting season and I took it in to protect it. I tried to find the owner because it was hand raised, with no success. It had one 7″ long spike and the other was broken off about an inch long. I cut off the other to match . . . This is a very rare deer and I know the danger. I am a holy man and I think this deer was a gift. So I am not in fear and am able to defend myself with hand to hand combat in any case. Thank you for being here for us and am looking forward to your reply.
A: He certainly is an interesting animal . . . I am far more concerned about your own safety, in being with this tame fallow buck. I can only state that tame male deer eventually become DANGEROUS to anyone who approaches them, and I am afraid that your own situation is no different. No matter what personal faith you may have, nor how well versed you are in martial arts, if this buck does attack you or anyone else there is the certainty of serious injury or even death. You can have no idea just how strong and quick an aggressive buck can be, if he decides to attack someone. Can you afford to have that on your conscience? If you think I am over the top with these statements please believe me – it is just not worth the risk of someone being seriously injured by this animal.
Follow up response: Let me tell you the known history and some speculation of this Dama Dama.
I was an avid hunter and had waited until the blush of the Bow season had passed. It wasn’t cold enough for me yet. I needed to be able to hand the deer up in the barn to age the meat.
Finally the perfect conditions presented. My first shot was a clean miss over the shoulder at 40 feet. I am a pretty good bowman and was bothered by the miss. That same afternoon I missed one under at 20 feet and again over at 30 feet. I am not new at this. At 53 buck fever was not the problem. Something was not right and I needed to think on this a few days. That was it for me! Three perfect shots and three perfect misses.
The night of the third day was different. My dog Kody was yapping all night. And in the morning she started again. I asked her what she was barking at, and in the field 100 feet away was this buck just standing there. It wasn’t even looking in my direction so I raised my hand and said “Hello Buck”!
The deer turned and casually walked over to me. It stopped and put its head down about 2 feet away and paused. Now mind you, it was the middle of the rutt: I grabbed a fist full of antler and we danced around for about 15 or 20 seconds. He wasn’t aggressive but didn’t like me hanging onto the spike. And I wasn’t fond of it pointing in my direction, so I backed away and he followed me around the barn several times. When I stopped he stopped. I walked over and patted him on the shoulder and said come on.
We casually walked down to the neighbor about 700 years, where I asked for help to put up a fence. They took pictures and we all visited for a while. And on the way back I was talking with the neighbor and had taken my eye off the deer, who promptly butted me in the butt. Just laying the spike aside my left hip joint. So I learned my lesson early on, and after enclosing him the spike came off.
There was some question here about his handling and treatment with special permits being required for keeping deer in Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources wanted to kill Bucky. But they only have jurisdiction over WTs. So he is classified as a pet like a goat. Even when I confronted them with the facts they wanted to put him down. I think that DNR must stand for “Do Not Resuscitate”.
He has been a wonderful learning experience and I think the Father wants me to stop killing and try taking care of one for a while. We have had some pushing contests and I have observed that he needs to set up first to push straight on at you. If I deflect his head to the side it breaks his concentration and he will have to set it again. If I don’t present a line up stance with him he loses interest. But I am sure that during the rutt things will be different, when he is mature.
There are some close neighbours 7 or 8 miles away who I have talked with. They have huge WTs that they keep inside enclosures all year round. She can go inside with the bucks, always on her guard and never during rutt. Craig The owner of this farm raised sheep for 40 years and is delighted at Bucky’s arrival. He took care of his own vet needs and has much insight on preventative maintenancy. I have been able to trim Bucky’s front hooves with an offset tin-snip cutter. He has interesting trust issues which I can relate to. It only took about 4 days to achieve access for 10 seconds work.
In my discoveries it seems that he was possibly shipped here to Michigan for the purpose of some animal sacrifice for the Persian population about 10 miles south and had escaped. This deer is engangered and is even more rare being white. It has all pink skin, seems to be in perfect health and has interesting eyes that seem to reflect his mood. Sitting in the paddock with him I can observe his eye against the sky with his head lifted up; they are reddish brown. But I have seen them green and even red when he is angry with me.
During the past winter I fed him corn and butternut squash. He always has access to alfalfa hay and clean water. He is a little chubby but not overweight. He has a mineral block that needs to be replaced and has a pretty good life so far.
This year will be interesting as he will have access to a larger enclosure. Your advice has not fallen on deaf ears. I know that you know what you are talking about and will heed your advice.
I am very pleased to have found your website. Thank you so much fore being there for us.
A: You tell a great story, and I have no doubt that you have established a special relationship with this creature. His behaviour has all the hallmarks of a buck that has no fear of you, and I can only repeat my concern. Please be very careful with him, and don’t be lulled into a false sense of security in the belief that you can fend him off if he really decided to attack you. You will not be able to do so. Your duty of care to other people is also an issue. But I am starting to repeat myself, so I will say no more.