BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A woman was able to escape an attack by a mule deer after a passer-by and his daughter fought off the buck, grabbing the antlers and striking it with a hammer until it fled, state wildlife officials said.
Sue Panter was on a stroll near her home in rural southeastern Idaho when the buck attacked, raking her body with his antlers and goring her legs, officials said.
Michael Vaughan and his 17-year-old daughter, Alexis, spotted the struggle early Friday and tried to intervene, the state Department of Fish and Game said in a statement Sunday.
Vaughan's daughter got out of their vehicle and started punching the deer, while he grabbed the buck by the antlers, which allowed Panter to escape, according to the agency. Vaughan said that while he wrestled with the buck, his daughter retrieved a hammer and struck the deer.
Vaughan's daughter then drove Panter and her father to a hospital, where they were treated and released on Friday. The man's legs were punctured three times during the struggle, wildlife officials said.
The buck in the attack was a young adult, which on average weigh about 250 pounds, officials said.
It was unclear why the animal attacked the woman. Such confrontations are unusual, but the behavior that was reported is typical of deer that have been reared as pets, according to state wildlife officials.
"A possibility is that this deer was found in the wild and taken home and raised by somebody," said Senior Conservation Officer Korey Owens. "Then it's become habituated to humans so it's not afraid of humans anymore, that's a possibility."
These unprovoked attacks by domesticated, or "pet deer," are very rare but have been reported in Idaho, said Blake Phillips, regional conservation officer for state Department of Fish and Game's southeast region.
Panter was "really traumatized" when the hospital called authorities to report the attack, Senior Conservation Officer Korey Owens said Monday.
Panter had played dead during the attack hoping that would discourage the deer, wildlife officials said. Her husband, who was at work, told him she had tried to remain in the roadway as the deer gored her, wildlife officials said.
"She felt that if she got pushed off the road and into the cornfield, no one would see her struggling or even know she was there," Panter told wildlife officials.
Officials were searching for the buck, which will be euthanized and tested for rabies and other diseases.