Tellico Plains woman hospitalized after unprovoked deer attack

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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Blount County woman was seriously injured Monday afternoon in an attack by a white-tailed buck outside a business in Maryville.

The woman was getting mail outside of U.S. Tanx in Maryville just before 1 p.m. Monday when the deer came up behind her and slammed into her back knocking her to the ground. The deer then circled around her and began goring her with its antlers.

The woman shielded herself from further injury and latched on to the deer’s antlers. The deer then drug her around and continued the attack. Three unknown bystanders assisted the woman as the deer continued to drag and injure her, but were eventually able to separate the deer and get her to safety.

The victim was transported to Blount County Memorial Hospital where she is being treated for serious injuries.

Neighbors tell WATE 6 On Your Side that the deer was considered “the neighborhood deer” and they had named him Louie.

Neighbors say they didn’t believe Louie was dangerous – he was gentle with their children and allowed them to paint his hooves and give him baths.

Ronald Harris says when he heard about the attack, “He (Louie) just thought she wanted to play.”

Another neighbor, Mark Russell, says of Louie, “this deer was loved by many in this community.”

Wildlife officers responded to the area and located the deer at a residence near the attack. The deer was wearing an orange collar around its neck and officers observed it acting unnaturally humanized. The officers immobilized the deer, removed it from the residence and euthanized it at another location.

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency spokesman Matt Cameron advises against humanizing wild animals.

An earlier photo of the deer. Courtesy of Lindsey Ricker Hipps

“It’s very dangerous to take in a wild animal and treat is as a pet or to humanize it,” Cameron said. “And humanizing would be when that animal doesn’t realize that it is a wild animal anymore.”

A criminal investigation is ongoing but preliminary information suggests the deer was raised by humans from a very young age and unnaturally humanized. The white-tailed deer was about a 1-1/2-old, four-point buck weighing approximately 75 pounds.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency says they see several situations where deer become aggressive towards humans, oftentimes women when rutting activity begins. This same rutting activity is also responsible for the uptick in deer versus vehicle collisions in the fall as deer are more mobile during the breeding season.

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