COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A deer attacked a 5-year-old boy playing with his father in the backyard of their Colorado Springs home on Thursday, requiring Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers to euthanize the animal.
The deer was frequently seen in the family’s backyard and often rested under their large trampoline, the victim’s father told CPW officers. On Thursday afternoon, the father and son were jumping on the trampoline when the boy climbed off to get a ball.
His father said the deer approached the boy, smelled him, then raised up its front leg and struck the boy on his shoulder with its hoof. It then turned and walked away from the crying boy, according to his father. The boy was not seriously injured.
The deer was still in the yard, eating grass and shrubs, when CPW officers arrived. It approached them, too.
Frank McGee, CPW area wildlife manager for the Pikes Peak region, believes the aggressive behavior displayed by the deer, a healthy buck, is evidence it had been fed by humans and become habituated to people.
“It showed no fear of the boy and his father,” McGee said. “And when our officers responded to the scene, it approached within a few feet of them. This tells me the deer was very comfortable around people. Dangerously comfortable. It viewed humans as a source of food.”
Human conflict with wildlife is increasing throughout Colorado and especially in Front Range communities where human populations are expanding.
“This is why it is illegal to feed deer and why we urge people to make them feel uncomfortable in neighborhoods,” McGee said. “The issue is far more serious than ruined landscaping or even the wrecks they cause on a daily basis on our roads. This boy is very lucky the deer only gave him a glancing blow”
The remains of the deer will be taken to a lab for a rabies test and necropsy. The incident remains under investigation.