OGDEN, Utah (AP)— Wildlife officials say a deer that attacked a Weber River fisherman last month was territorial and did not fear people because it had been raised as a pet.
A Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman says tests show the mule deer did not have a degenerative brain disease.
The fisherman, Kevin Bybee of North Ogden, was wading in the river on Feb. 2 when the buck approached him.
"I wasn't feeling threatened," Bybee said in a telephone interview with the Standard-Examiner. "I just didn't feel comfortable."
Bybee says the animal reeled up on its hind legs and attacked Bybee's back with its hooves.
"I turned my back to it, and waded into the water to protect my pole," Bybee said.
Bybee wrestled with the deer in the river as it repeatedly attacked him. He ran for the bank and climbed a tree for protection. He had to kick the deer away with his feet.
"I was trying to get it to leave, but it wouldn't," he said. "It just stayed there."
Bybee escaped with a black eye and managed to make a phone call to his relative for help. Morgan County Sheriff Deputy Chris Peay and another officer were also dispatched to the location. The deer left the tree when five men and an ambulance crew approached Bybee.
"The deer was moving toward them," Bybee said. "I could only assume it had the same plans for them as it had for me. Then the deer tried to take on the guy with the shovel."
The Standard-Examiner reports Morgan County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed the deer when it started to attacked rescuers.
"You would never think any of this would happen, but it did," Bybee said.
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