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Deer attacks man in Draper backyard, police say

Published: Monday, Feb. 8 2016 5:00 p.m. MST

A mule deer attacked a Draper man in his backyard Monday, causing "significant wounds," to the man as well as injuries to the family dog.

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DRAPER — A mule deer attacked a Draper man in his backyard Monday, causing "significant wounds" to the man, as well as an injury to the family dog.

The attack, which occurred around 8 a.m. in the SunCrest subdivision in the southeast area of the city, resulted in officers "putting the deer down" after subduing the animal in a struggle, according to a statement issued by Draper.

The injured man's daughter called police to say the deer had hurt the family dog and "was engaged" with her father, city officials said.

"When Animal Services supervisor Dennis Wilson arrived on scene, he found the man lying on the ground with the deer pushing its antlers down into him," a news release states. "Officer Wilson grabbed the deer and pulled the antlers away from the man. The man was able to get up and walk back to the house."

Wilson said Monday that he struggled with the deer and gained control, taking the animal to the ground in the corner of the yard. Two patrol officers responded to the scene as backup between 10 and 15 minutes later, he said. Police eventually shot and killed the deer, according to city spokeswoman Maridene Alexander.

"If not for the actions of officer Wilson, there could have been far more serious injuries," she said in the statement.

The man suffered multiple puncture wounds that were considered significant, but not life-threatening, said Draper Police Deputy Chief John Eining. He transported himself to Intermountain Medical Center after being treated at the scene. His dog also suffered a puncture wound, but was expected to survive.

Mitch Ingersoll, the victim's brother, said the man was trying to save his dog by approaching the deer. His brother got into a headlock with the deer, but then tripped and fell and the animal began to gore him, according to Ingersoll.

At that point, Ingersoll said, his brother did everything he could to prevent the animal from gashing him even worse.

“If it was a child or an older person, it could have ended very tragically,” Ingersoll said. “(My brother) said, ‘I thought it was going to kill me.’”

The man's punctures were to an arm and both legs, and he also suffered cuts on his face, Ingersoll said.

Wilson said he suffered a minor scratch and several holes were poked in his clothes by the deer's antlers. Several of his buttons were popped off by the deer, which was kicking him and trying to spear him with its antlers.

Eining said deer attacks are "extremely rare" and described Monday's ordeal as an isolated incident. Wilson agreed, saying it's his first such call in 26 years of public service. He advised that residents avoid all potentially dangerous wildlife just in case. Those whose pets are being attacked should call police rather than confronting the animal, Wilson said.

Police believe it's likely the deer was trapped in the yard after jumping a fence to get in. The deer was also injured while trying to get out of the yard and may have been startled by the dog, which could have contributed to the animal's behavior.

Draper residents who encounter deer or other wild animals on their property are asked to call the city's animal control officers at 801-840-4000.

Contributing: Andrew Adams, Brianna Bodily

Email: blockhart@deseretnews.com

Twitter: benlockhartnews

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