“a buck squared off with her and took her life”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

“Dear PoPville,

We just wanted to give a word of warning. Our beloved dog was running in the woods near Fletcher’s Cove enjoying the beautiful day. She always loved chasing deer. Sunday, a buck squared off with her and took her life. We found out that this is a time of year where bucks get hyper-aggressive and can attack both animals and humans. Please be careful.”

50 Comment

  • Emmaleigh504

    Yikes! I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • That’s horrible, I am sorry for your loss.

  • Here’s a more relevant PSA: keep your dogs leashed. Sorry about your loss OP.

    • Jesus. Really? Read the last line again. The OP was giving fair warning that dogs AND HUMANS could be at greater risk this time of year. Also — because I have no idea one way or another — unless you have some proof that the area requires dogs to be on leash, your comment is completely out of line when someone was trying to help others after suffering a loss.

      • +1. And depending on the aggressive of the deer, not sure a leash would have helped. Out of line, and I doubt you’re actually sorry for OP’s loss.

      • Any area where your dog is at risk is being killed by a wild animal is one where they require a leash. Whether your municipal government states so or not.

        • Wild animals have been known to show up in people’s fenced in backyards. (And deer can leap quite tall fences, btw.) OP, thank you for taking the time to warn others. I’m sorry for your loss and that your good motivation results in you receiving criticism.

      • You must be new here. This person lacks a filter.

    • Seriously. It’s awful that this happened. But if a dog chases a deer, it better expect to be gored or kicked eventually.

  • I’m sorry about your loss OP, but this is one of the many reasons why dogs must be leashed at all times.

    • Now is not the time to reprimand the OP. What’s wrong with you people?

      • It’s probably the same people who lecture every victim of a car break-in or bike theft for leaving something visible in the car or not using the right bike lock. Every. Single. Time.

        • Exactly. It’s basically just self-congratulations that the poster knew better and the victim should have. How is that helpful?

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I guess it depends on who you consider to be the victim. You seem to think the owner is the victim, but really, it was the dog, no?

  • We might be in the “leash your dog” category but we’re also mostly in the “don’t be a jacka**” category….

  • This is not a troll. This is our dog. And how can you be so heartless? Let me explain in a more graphic way for you… she was gored to death by the buck. We wanted to warn all of the dangers.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Ed. Note: Troll comment was deleted. So sorry for your loss and for the callousness some comments can bring. Thank you again for alerting others.

    • I’m sorry this happened to you, but thank you for warning others of this danger. Also thanks to Dan for removing the comment.

    • I am so very sorry for your loss, that’s so awful. Nature is cruel. And I’m so sorry people are using your efforts to warn others to be cautious as an opportunity to lecture. Not the time, guys.

    • So sorry to hear about your pup.
      And I appreciate the warning to beware of bucks this time of year – I didn’t know they were aggressive during their mating season.

    • I am sorry for your loss and thank you for giving PoP the warning for other dogs and humans. And, please try to ignore those who lack the ability to empathize. Reminds me of this quote: “Humans owe our ability to empathize, and perhaps even love selflessly, to our long association with dogs.” I am sure your dog loved you and you clearly loved her. I’ll give my pup a big hug tonight. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Around 9am, at the Fort Totten walk through path, I saw a HUGE buck repeatedly galloping out of the woods and stomping its hooves… as if was engaging in a fight. Stay clear folks.

    • That’s crazy. I’ve seen bucks and deers on my runs through RCP and while driving around NW. I’ve pulled over to the side of the road or stopped in my tracks multiple times to let them pass or run away. Do not approach them, regardless of time of year. The biggest buck I’ve seen in RCP was taller than me (I’m 5’11”)

  • I am actually, genuinely, very very sorry for your loss. Take the time to grieve. It’s also understandable to think its callous to ask people to use this as an example to learn from, but its not. It’s gravely dangerous to everyone, but especially your own pet, to not leash it. I say this as someone who’d dog was gored (nearly) to death by another off-leash dog. It’s never safe to go off leash – and it’s important that folks remember and acknowledge that. This seems like an especially strange danger, and I am glad for the warning so we can all be aware of it. But there again is the point. You don’t know what can happen, so it is not risk-free behavior to engage in. This is really sad all around and I hope it serves as a reminder to keep everyone safe. I am sorry that this happened to your pet and family member.

  • Male deer (bucks) are especially dangerous during the rutting season, which apparently is now. (I’d read about this before, but didn’t remember what time of year it took place.) Stay well clear of them if you’re outdoors, and drive extra-carefully.
    OP, I’m sorry for your loss.

  • I grew up in the Adirondack Mtns in upstate NY where animal-pet altercations happen all the time. But after living in DC for the last 11 years I tend to forget that these sort of things can and do happen here. I am so sorry for you and your dog. That had to be absolutely terrifying to witness. I hope you are able to heal and recover after something so scary.

  • I’m so very sorry about your dog – what a horrible thing to witness. Thank you for alerting the community to a danger that most of us would never have considered.

  • OP, this is absolutely heartbreaking. So very sorry for your loss.

  • Tom

    Couldn’t imagine watching that happen, OP, I’m so sorry. Sending positive vibes your way.

  • I Dont Get It

    So horrible! I’m so sorry for your loss!

  • My heart goes out to you OP. I’m so very sorry you have to go through this and I know how hard it is to lose a furry member of the family. You and your pup are in my thoughts.

  • This is very sad and I’m sorry you had to go through it. Thanks for taking the time to share your story and encourage others to be careful.

  • That is awful, I am really sorry for your loss.

  • There is an amazing youtube out there of a mother deer protecting her fawn rabbit-kicking a big dog. It was so fast and powerful, would have never guessed deer can do that in addition to using antlers. Well, I guess she did that since she had no antlers…

    • The danger season for does protecting fawns is (according to one of the links I posted) “around late March to early June, when does have fawns in hiding or just at heel. The does are particularly protective of the fawns during this time period, so do not approach any fawns or allow your dogs to do so.”

      • That link also said that rutting season was “mid-November to mid-January,” but I guess it varies slightly by region.

  • It’s worth noting that the warning says “We found out . . .” which suggests that the OP was not previously aware of the danger posed by bucks this time of year. So kudos to him/her/them for passing the warning on to (what I suspect is the great many of) us city dwellers who are not familiar with the mating behaviors of male deer.
    To the OP- I am very sorry for your loss.

  • Very sorry about your loss. Thank you SO much for this post!!! I was walking my dogs in RCP this weekend and we saw a deer very close by. It never occurred to me that they can be dangerous. You just did me a great service. Again, sorry for your loss

  • I’m so very sorry. This is a good reminder to me. Even if our dog is on the leash, she tries to chase deer all the time and she can be strong enough to rip the leash out of my hand. Good reminder that I need to stay vigilant.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I am very sorry to hear about your loss. I had a terrifying encounter with a *huge-ass* buck with *one* gigantic antler a few years ago while running in Rock Creek Park. I was running near the Park Police station on Beach Drive (just south of Military Road) when I saw this enormous single-antlered buck staring at me very intently from maybe 50 yards away. I had been running toward it, so I turned to run away. Not bolt away, just change direction and keep running at a normal steady pace. I glanced over my shoulder and saw it walking toward me, then broke into a trot, and then a full gallop. I freaked the hell out and ran on top of an SUV that was parked near the police station, and the buck just continued right by me. I do not know whether it was running after something else that was in the same general direction, or if it had been charging at me but just decided to keep going when I got out of its path. I am grateful that this happened close to the parking area where I had a few options to seek shelter; if this was further out, I don’t want to think about how that might have ended.

  • oh my god i’m so sorry. that’s really heartbreaking.

  • My dog loved chasing deer too. I’ve heard of multiple stories of dogs getting gored or kicked in this area, though first time reading about it here. In all the wonderful DC parks that we have, where we feel secluded in the woods, we are never more than 100 yards from a road. I always worried about her chasing a deer in the road and causing an accident where there she, the deer and humans may be hurt.

  • Sorry for your loss and thanks for the PSA. FWIW I’m sure your dog’s quality of life was that much better because you let her off leash to play. Sometimes a tragedy is just a tragedy, not a reason to oppress your dependents because occasionally an anomalous but preventable tragedy occurs.

  • Yes, it’s called The Rut, best time of the year for hunting. Definitely don’t think they are the docile, tame creatures they appear to be most of the year.

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