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Deer vs. Dogs

By Gary Bogue
Friday, October 7th, 2005 at 3:25 pm in Animals, deer, Wildlife.

Buck Deer Attacking Dogs in Orinda, Ca.

I wish there was a better way of dealing with the buck deer in Orinda that has been attacking dogs in their yards, other than shooting it.

Unfortunately, at the present time there doesn’t appear to be one. Maybe this event will give people ideas for dealing more humanely with these kinds of problems in the future.

The deer killed one dog, wounded another and attacked two others over a period of several days. The California Department of Fish and Game has issued a depredation permit for a professional hunter to kill the buck because of its threat to dogs.

I’ve had many phone calls asking me why they don’t just relocate the deer to a new area? I called Eric Larson, DFG deputy regional manager and asked him.

"We don’t relocate wildlife as a practice," he said. "We do it with bears and have done it with wild turkeys. We don’t relocate deer because of the risk of injury to the animal. Relocating a problem animal also just relocates the problem to another area. We also don’t have the staff to do it."

Larson also told me the depredation permit was issued for the hunter to kill the deer because his department was required by state law to do so. "If you can show us damage to your property by a wild animal and request a depredation permit, we cannot refuse."

From my own viewpoint, relocating the deer would also risk relocating any local diseases to a new area. It would also bring the buck into competition with other deer that already live in the new territory and throw them into a tizzy. In other words, it would create lots of new problems.

I personally consider this particular buck’s attacks on multiple dogs to be an aberration. An isolated case. In 35 years of writing my daily newspaper column I’ve never received reports of a deer that tracked down dogs in their yards and attacked them. I talked to Times staff writer Denis Cuff who interviewed people and wrote the Oct. 7 story about the buck. He said the local game warden told him she had never encountered a deer that aggressive in 16 years. The Orinda Police chief told him he’d been a beat cop for many years, patrolling Orinda neighborhoods, and never seen such a problem.

On the other hand, it has happened before. Cuff also told me a DFG biologist told him a relative in Colorado had a dog that was gored to death by a deer. So yes, it’s extremely rare, but it does obviously happen.

Let’s hope it will be many, many years before we encounter it again, in Orinda or anyplace else.

One thing we can all do to help keep it from happening again is to NOT feed the deer. That just attracts them to our yards … where our dogs live.

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8 Responses to “Deer vs. Dogs”

  1. Jeff Christensen Says:

    Gary Bogue said…

    “I wish there was a better way of dealing with the buck deer in Orinda that has been attacking dogs in their yards, other than shooting it.

    Unfortunately, at the present time there doesn’t appear to be one. Maybe this event will give people ideas for dealing more humanely with these kinds of problems in the future.”

    I’d like to ask Gary (and everyone else who thinks they need a “more humane” way to deal with things like this) what is inhumane about killing the deer swiftly and with purpose?

    You see, I hunt. Yes, I shoot animals and eat them. My family and I have been doing this for generations. We’re country folks, born and raised. We also grow our own food, vegetables, beef, pork, chickens, herbs. And we kill them humanely.

    Now, I’ve seen the type of place that raises most of the meat you city folks eat. I’ve seen the slaughter houses too. And while I’m not ready to call them “inhumane” I am going to inform you that the deer and elk I shoot and eat are killed in AT LEAST as a humane way as the 85 animals per year the average American meat-eater is responsible for killing simply by eating their daily meals. (statistic is from a popular vegan organization).

    As a country boy and someone who lives life close to the earth, not to mention reality, I know the truth about my Thanksgiving Butterball and Christmas ham. But I wonder if city folks ever pause and think about what they say and feel when it comes to things like deer that need to be culled.

    “More humane?” More humane than what? The chicken that died for your kid’s McNuggets? The cow that was killed for your 4th of July BBQ? OK, the hunter will shoot the deer and donate the meet to the homeless the way we do 10’s of 1000’s times a year. Humane kill – Done.

    The only opinion counter to mine that I could begin to respect would have to come from a long practicing vegan. A vegan, like the hunter and rancher does not hide from the truth and lives a consistent life in regard to animals. Its an unnatural way to live in my opinion, but I respect ethical consistency.

  2. William H.Cullen Says:

    Years ago i was working in Sunol, I stopped to help two Men of mexican Nationality that were tattered,bleeding, and pretty well beat up. There story , a dear was caught in the road side fence, they grabbed 2×4’s and were trying to kill it.The deer a big buck darn near killed them

  3. Don Wellington Says:

    I am the owner of the wounded dog, Mocha. I do not own guns, do not hunt and am opposed to killing anything. However, the thought of losing Mocha, my wife’s best friend, to a diseased buck tends to affect my judgement. It’s a difficult situation. I would not be opposed to relocation at all, if a locale could be found to keep other beings safe from what is probably a hurt or diseased animal. Fortunately, our neighborhood is willing to let the professional authorities deal with this issue. After a slow start, they are now doing so, maybe because of the publicity. Let’s see what happens, hopefully it won’t be tragic to another per or a human being.

  4. Jeff Christensen Says:

    You are opposed to killing anything? You dont eat meat? What do you do if you have rats/mice in your house?

  5. Don Wellington Says:

    I eat meat, but I don’t kill it myself. Fine line, I know. Our cats take care of the rats and mice naturally.

  6. Mike Says:

    Gary: Your column is well thought out. While we are seeing more deer this year than in past, it is still highly unusual to have one attacking animals – even more rare to have it happen multiple times. The animal needs to be destroyed for the safety and health of humans, pets, and probably for the herd itself.

  7. Dave Ingram Says:

    Nov. 22 05
    We lost a very active 12 year old Golden Retriever to a buck a few weeks ago. We live SE of Denver on a couple of acres, and let two retrievers out in a fenced yard late before retiring, and this one didn’t come back. We found him under a tree with a hole in his chest that was not a gunshot or branch puncture, vet confirmed. We now bell the other one at night and search for deer before letting him loose. We’ve run deer off from the back yard twice since then. A few days ago a BIG buck was hanging around with does and he was very reluctant to go away. When bucks are in rut, they are dangerous to people as well as dogs. If you have a dog in deer country, use caution if you let them run without supervision, and let other dog owner know that it happens.

  8. JR Says:

    I read what Gary had to say, and cant agree more. I was raised hunting and fishing. We currently live in Livermore, but also have a home in the area of Twain Harte. This past season our male Rhodesian Ridgeback was charged by a rutting buck. At 114 lbs he held onto the bucks shoulder till I relized what was taking place. The Buck was dispatched by me, and then reported to DFG and the carcass was confiscated.
    They are truly fearless during the rut. I figure our Dog got ‘lucky’ this time. They are bred to bring down Deer sized game in Africa, but a Rutting dear is a dangerous animal for any creature to take on.

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