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Killed by Love-Struck Buck Canadian Attacked by Animal During Mating Season
October 4, 2000
By Richard Zitrin
YORK, Ontario (APBnews.com) -- A man found dead on his deer farm was killed by a 400-pound buck which apparently viewed him as a romantic rival during mating season, police said today.
William McCavanagh, 54, died last week when he went to feed the buck and 18 does he kept in a compound at his farm in this village near Hamilton, police said.
The buck attacked McCavanagh to keep him away from the does, Ontario Provincial police Sgt. Rob Bermuhler said.
"It's mating season, and bucks are very aggressive," Bermuhler said.
Attacked with antlers and hoofs
A neighbor found McCavanagh's body inside the deer compound a week ago today after the farmer's wife called to say her husband had not returned home after going out to feed the herd, Bermuhler said.
McCavanagh suffered a number of wounds that showed the buck attacked the farmer with antlers and hoofs.
An autopsy revealed McCavanagh died from a severed femoral artery, Bermuhler said.
The farmer's family had considered killing the buck, which is valued at about $10,000 in Canadian currency, but decided not to, he said. They may, however, sell the herd.
"At one point, the family wanted him destroyed and then, I think, calmer heads prevailed," Bermuhler said, "and they realized this animal was only doing what comes natural."
A few similar cases
Bucks in captivity have attacked several people in the United States, including a man who was killed at an animal-rescue compound several years ago in Maryland, according to a former U.S. wildlife agent.
"Deer attacks in the wild don't happen, but there are four or five cases of attacks by domestic bucks that are kept in captivity," said retired agent Len Lisenbee, who lives in western New York. "You've got a much better chance of winning the lottery or being hit by lightning, though, than being attacked by a buck deer, domestic or otherwise."
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