Aggressive Deer On The Attack

A dog was killed by a doe in a yard in east Medford. An Ashland woman was attacked while walking her dog on the Southern Oregon University Campus.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is receiving reports of aggressive deer throughout Ashland, east Medford and even in Jacksonville. A total of 15 reports have been received since June, most since June 14.

At this time of year, black-tailed deer are raising their fawns, and will protect them against dogs or other perceived threats. Bucks are more likely to be aggressive during the rut in October-November, but can exhibit this behavior all year when they are being fed. Most recent complaints about aggressive deer involve does, but one report was about an aggressive buck.

Feeding wildlife also causes aggression, as animals that will typically avoid people start coming to them for food. Deer will eat landscaping in residential neighborhoods like Ashland, and some residents intentionally feed them. (Note that City of Ashland ordinance 9.08.280 prohibits the feeding of deer and some other wildlife.)

“People in Ashland tolerate deer eating their landscaping because they love having them around, until they start to get aggressive like they are now,” said Matthew Vargas, assistant district wildlife biologist. “The best way to keep them away is to not feed them. You can also spray a garden hose at them if they are in your yard—any kind of hazing that doesn’t actually harm them.”

“Dogs can also spark aggression, especially in does caring for fawns,” continued Vargas. “Dog owners might consider not walking their dog in areas where these deer problems are happening, at least for a few weeks, until fawns become more mobile and does less protective.”

Don’t approach deer. Keep your distance from them.

  • Keep dogs on a leash.
  • Don’t pick up fawns or get near them. Does are protective of fawns, and may also leave them alone for periods to go off and forage on their own.
  • Don’t feed wildlife. It habituates them to people which makes them less afraid and more aggressive.
  • Stay alert, especially at dawn and dusk. Be aware of your surroundings and areas where deer may be.

Report any aggressive deer behavior to ODFW’s Central Point office at (541) 826-8774.

Source: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

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