FRANKTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – Officials have euthanized a deer believed to have charged a woman and gored her husband outside their home in Franktown on Wednesday. The 2-year-old buck was wearing a fluorescent orange collar — and officials believe it was raised by people and recently set free in the area.
Jordan Winn told CBS4 he and his wife saw what they described as a “friendly deer,” fitted with an orange dog collar, on the other side of their fence around 4:50 p.m. The wife reportedly reached over the fence, and the deer approached — touching her finger with its nose.
“We’ve never seen a deer with a collar before and that indicated right away he’s not from around here,” said Jordan Winn.
Officials say that’s when the buck came through a break in the fence line, and knocked the woman back — pinning her into the barb-wire fence.
“I grabbed his collar and his antler and pulled him off of her and said, ‘Run!'” said Winn. ““He went right after me, that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
CPW officials say the man tried to help his wife during the attack, but the deer knocked him to the ground and dragged him around the yard.
“I was able to grab his collar with one hand and an antler with the other hand and push his face down so his nose was in the ground. And not making him very happy but I had a little bit of control over him,” Winn told CBS4.
The woman told officials she ran inside, called 911, and shot a pellet gun toward the buck. She said that distracted the animal long enough that her husband was able to get up and get behind a boat stored in the yard, to separate himself from the buck.
Officials say the buck gored the man in his lower body.
“He dragged my pants right off me, so she comes running out and my a** is hanging out,” Winn said.
CPW officials said this was the first report of a collared deer in the area.
“Wildlife officers believe this deer, a two-year old buck, was one that was domesticated and set-free in the area recently,” officials stated.
“Every indication we see points to this deer being raised by people, one from its collar and two from its behavior,” Wildlife Officer Casey Westbrook said in a statement released Thursday. “We suspect somebody was raising it and released it after they couldn’t handle it anymore.”
“These are some of the dangers that come when you try to domesticate, or even just feed wildlife,” Westbrook stated.
He called it a “major issue” at this time of year.
“These animals learn to expect something from humans and when they don’t get it, they become dangerous and encounters like what we saw here can happen. Mix in the fact that deer are now in the breeding season, and this all contributed to something that could have been prevented,” Westbrook stated.
Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, a concerned resident notified CPW about a picture from a Facebook post that showed a man interacting with what is believed to be the same deer.
The man reportedly told CPW officials the buck approached him on Saturday while he was doing yard work at his home in Elizabeth.
“The man stated the deer had attempted to push him around with its antlers and showed the officers several pictures of him fending off the animal,” officials said.
Just hours later, officials believe the same deer chased a young boy in Franktown.
“CPW received another report at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday of the same deer that had chased a 10-year-old boy,” officials stated.
The bull reportedly chased the boy near Tomichi Drive and Caribou Drive — before a man pulled his car in between the child and the deer to protect the boy and prevent an attack.
Officials said it happened just down the road from where the man was gored by the deer minutes later.
CPW officials said the attack on the man might have been prevented if people had reported their interactions with the deer to them, instead of posting about it on social media.
“If this was reported to CPW on Saturday instead of being posted on Facebook, we might have been able to prevent this,” Westbrook said. “The behavior of any wild animal can be unpredictable, and the behavior of wildlife that get domesticated can be demanding and aggressive.”
“It is illegal to own or possess wildlife in Colorado. You cannot remove a wild animal from the woods and take it home. As a public resource, wildlife belongs to the state of Colorado, to all citizens,” officials stated.
“Colorado’s wild animals should stay wild,” Westbrook was quoted as saying.
If anyone has information of people raising or attempting to domesticate wildlife, it should be reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife by calling 303-291-7227. It can also be done anonymously through Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.