Warning: This article contains a graphic image some readers may find disturbing.
Colorado wildlife officials are searching for a mule deer that gored a 67-year-old woman with its antlers as she left her house on Saturday.
The attack happened in the small town of Silver Cliff, located southwest of Colorado Springs.
The woman told officers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) that the small buck charged her when she walked out of her front door. She was able to get back inside her home to call her husband for help, officials said.
Officials said she was taken to a hospital in Pueblo, located about 55 miles away. The deer left a large puncture wound on her left leg and significant bruising on her right leg.
The deer is described as having two spikes on each antler. If the deer is found, it will be euthanized to prevent any attacks in the future, officials said.
After the attack, two young bucks were seen sparring in the woman’s yard, which is common during mating season, officials said.
However, there had been no recent reports of aggressive deer in the area before the attack. Wildlife officials believe the lack of fear in the deer being so close to a house means someone had been feeding it.
“A wildlife officer went to investigate and found a bird feeder in the yard,” said Mike Brown, CPW area wildlife manager. “The victim told a CPW officer that she feeds birds and had thrown out bread earlier that day.”
It’s unclear if this is what led to the deer being in the woman’s yard.
Mule deer are native to western North America and are named for their uniquely large ears that resemble those of a mule, according to the Mule Deer Foundation. Adult male mule deer can weigh anywhere from 125 to 300 pounds and stand around 3 feet tall.
Wildlife officials said they become “aggressive and dangerous” when they lose fear of humans.
In the state of Colorado, it is illegal to intentionally feed big game animals — deer, elk, pronghorn sheep, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions and bears — and the offense is punishable by a $100 fine.
Colorado’s hunting season for the species ended in November.
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