A woman was severely injured Tuesday in an incident with a mule deer buck on a farm near Guide Rock, some 30 miles south of Hastings.
The woman was doing chores alone when the deer apparently attacked her, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said Friday in a news release.
The woman was discovered later and taken to a Lincoln hospital.
“This was a tragic encounter, and my sympathy is with the injured woman and her family,” said Alicia Hardin, wildlife administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Deer attacks on people are extremely rare, and we are investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident.”
The time of the attack is unknown. A 911 call was made Tuesday evening, and the Webster County sheriff’s office was notified of the incident, Game and Parks spokesman Jerry Kane said.
A responding conservation officer later shot and killed the deer. He said the animal showed no fear of him. Deer, which are strong and unpredictable, normally do not approach humans, Kane said.
The deer was taken to the Veterinary Diagnostic Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for a necropsy, where it tested negative for rabies.
Although uncommon, rabies can infect deer.
Kane said deer attacks on humans can occur for a variety of reasons. Bucks become more aggressive while rutting. Disease, domestication, injury and protection of their young also could also lead to encounters with humans.
Domestication typically occurs when animals are either raised from a young age or repeatedly exposed to humans through feeding or other nonthreatening encounters. As a result, animals lose their natural fear of humans, causing the potential for more conflicts between wildlife and humans, Kane said.
The Game and Parks Commission receives several reports of individuals feeding or domesticating wildlife each year, Kane said.