January 28, 2019
On Jan. 19, 2019 at approximately 9 a.m., an SCDNR officer in Aiken County was contacted by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control regarding an aggressive “spike” buck deer it wanted to examine for public health purposes after reports of several incidents involving the public.
The first incident reported to SCDNR officers occurred on Jan. 16 after a "spike," or with two points, deer attacked someone in a subdivision on the east side of Aiken. The next day, a complainant reported an aggressive deer on Pony Trail.
At approximately 10 a.m. on Jan. 19, officers were dispatched to Anderson Pond Road where a deer was actively attacking someone. When officers arrived on scene, they found the victim had light abrasions on her face and bruises on her arms.
The victim described the deer as a male “spike,” with a ring of disturbed fur as if it had been wearing a collar for some time.
SCDNR and officers with Aiken City Department of Public Safety made contact with the deer approximately 150 yards from where it made contact with the victim. The deer approached the officers and was taken with one shot by Aiken DPS without incident.
The deer appeared to be well fed, with no external signs of injury and no obvious illnesses.
SCDNR deer biologist Charles Ruth said based on its behavior, the one-year-old deer was obviously hand-raised as a fawn, which is likely why the animal was so comfortable coming close to humans.
“Since it was hand-raised, it associates people with good things and although this looked like aggressive behavior, it was almost certainly the deer simply wanting to play because that’s how it was raised,” said Ruth. “If someone puts their hands on the deer, that encourages it to play harder, and I think that’s what we saw in those several incidences.”
SCDHEC took possession of the deer carcass to study.