Deer and Buck Safety For Dog Walking Adventures
Deer generally tiptoe past people, preferring to avoid us. They occupy a space in our mental landscape as gentle herbivores, and “aggression” is not something often seen in relation to the word “deer.” This all has great potential to change during the deer and buck breeding season, or rutting season. During this time bucks are amped up on testosterone and are much more prone to aggression than they normally are. This aggression is usually directed at other bucks, but may be directed at you or your dog if the buck perceives you as being in the way. Although rare, bucks do sometimes attack people and animals, as this article by the Bloomington Indiana Deer Task Force states. Last year a buck in rut attacked a Labrador retriever in the Milwaukee area, and there have been a rash of attacks in other states and a few in Illinois in the last few years as well.
According to the ProHunters Journal, rutting season is generally between October and December with the peak time being in November. If you’re walking in wooded areas with your dog to see the pretty autumn leaves and to enjoy the brisk air, remember to always keep your pup leashed. Even if your dog has a rock-solid response to a “come here” command, the last thing you want is for your floofin to rustle around in the underbrush and rustle up a buck. When bucks charge they’re very fast. Deer are numerous in some Chicago-area suburbs as well, and in these places it’s wise to supervise your dog when they’re outside, especially during rutting season.
Looking a bit to the future, another time to be on the lookout is during fawning season, in the spring, when does can be protective of their babies if they see you or your dog as a threat. The Willowbrook Wildlife Center’s site says that if you do see a fawn on its own, don’t approach it or try to “rescue” it—there’s almost certainly no need since the mom’s most likely just out of sight.
Again, deer and buck attacks on dogs and people are rare, although perhaps not as uncommon as you’d imagine. Some argue that deer are becoming overcrowded and over-used to people, and that this may in part explain attacks. Whatever the reason, the best way to avoid a potential encounter is to be vigilant and to keep your dog by your side. Your dog is probably quite content to be near you, so enjoy the last of the autumn days together as we move into the colder months.