Warden: Overfeeding may have exacerbated Alta Sierra deer attack | TheUnion.com

Warden: Overfeeding may have exacerbated Alta Sierra deer attack

Deer don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of many residents in the foothills, where bear and cougars are known to roam.

But after an attack on an Alta Sierra resident last weekend, people may want to move deer up a few notches on the fearsome fauna list.

Around 6 p.m. Sunday, a buck attacked an 18-year-old Alta Sierra resident in her family’s backyard on Hiers Road. Her mother asked the family not be identified.

“My daughter said it was acting shaky and really weird when she saw it earlier in the day,” the woman said. “She was going to get into the car to go to a friend’s house when it head butted her. She was trapped between his antlers and thankfully got out of it with only a few scratches. But when it pulled away from her it took her sweater with it. Last she saw it, the sweater was still hanging on its antlers.”

The girl’s mother said her daughter was shaken by the incident.

Deer attacks are increasingly common, said California Fish and Game Warden Jerry Karnow, who is investigating the attack.

“Your chances of getting attacked by a deer are actually better than getting attacked by a mountain lion,” he added.

It’s too early for the rut, when bucks are fueled with testosterone and known for aggressive behavior, Karnow said.

“I think it might have been some kind of territorial thing,” Karnow said. “I think it was just going to stand its ground and charge.”

He said rampant deer feeding in the Alta Sierra area probably exacerbated the situation.

“It’s illegal to feed the deer, but we’re finding it more and more,” Karnow said. “There are several homes within blocks of this location where people feed deer. They’re claiming the deer are going to starve, and that’s just not true. This is the foothills, we don’t have really harsh winters. There is so much food for them.”

Karnow is keeping an eye out for the deer and anyone who sees it should call local law enforcement, he said.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail kmagin@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.

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