Oh, deer! Doe attacks woman, dog at Whitney Point lake
DEC says such encounters are rare
By Brian Liberatore <mailto:BLiberatore@...
Press & Sun-Bulletin
WHITNEY POINT -- The deer came out of nowhere, said April Christian of
She was walking her 9-month-old dog, Malcolm, along Dorchester Lake in
Whitney Point on Thursday afternoon, she said, when a deer ambushed her.
"All of sudden this deer comes flying out of the woods after us with her
ears back," Christian said. "Never in my entire life had I seen anything
Deer attacks are rare but not unheard of, said Diane Carlton, spokeswoman
for the state Department of Environmental Conservation: "It usually only
happens when people get near their fawns."
Last month, deer were blamed for attacks on three people on the Southern
Illinois University campus. Illinois officials blamed the attacks on does
trying to defend their young. Last June, three attacks on the campus sent
four people to the hospital.
In Whitney Point, the animal charged Christian and her dog, a 75-pound
retriever mix. Christian climbed a small tree and wedged her foot in the
crook of a broken limb. The deer, she said, ran at the dog, got up on its
hind legs and kicked Malcolm with its front hooves.
"I thought she had broken his back," Christian said. "She (the deer) had
blood in her eyes."
The dog fell back, rolled over and got up. Malcolm, Christian said, ran into
the lake and swam in circles to escape the deer. "I kept thinking, 'Go away
deer; go away,'" Christian said. But the animal stayed near the shore
stomping its hooves on the wet ground.
Christian yelled for help.
Frank Sokalski, 15, of Whitney Point, was fishing on the lake when he heard
Christian scream. "I ran over to her and she said, 'I need your help,'"
Sokalski said. "She was up in a tree."
He thought the deer was gone.
After Sokalski helped Christian out of the tree, the angry doe bounded out
of the woods.
"She looked a little peeved," Sokalski said of the deer. "The tail was
flapping and everything."
The deer chased after Malcolm and both disappeared in the woods.
Christian didn't find her dog until the next day. Malcolm, she said, was
frightened but unhurt.
"Usually you don't have aggressive behavior of this sort," Carlton said.
"But people need to be aware that this is springtime. A lot of animals have
young at this time of year."
The best policy with wildlife, Carlton said, is to leave them alone --
something Christian said she would have gladly done.
"I never saw her coming," Christian said. "It was just awful."
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]