Man dead, woman injured in rare deer attack in regional Victoria

Mandi and Paul McDonald. Image Supplied

According to police the Waipiti deer - a cross between a red deer and an elk - had been a pet of the family for about 2 years.

Mandi McDonald was likewise set upon as she arrived following the commotion, per Sky News, though ABC reports the couple's teenage son saved her by hitting the deer with a chunk of wood.

"Both residents suffered critical injuries, however, the man died a short time later", Victoria Police said in a statement.

She is being treated for upper body and leg injuries. The woman was seriously brought the injured to a hospital in Melbourne.

Responding officers shot and killed the deer at the scene, citing "concerns for the paramedic's safety", but it was too late for Paul McDonald.

A member of the small community told the Herald Sun her family had rushed to her bedside in Melbourne.

The couple had the deer for about two years. Image Supplied
The couple had the deer for about two years. Image Supplied

A recent study into the number of deaths caused by animals in Australia from 2000 to 2013 recorded no fatal deer attacks, according to its author.

'They are a wild animal and a wild animal that loses its fear of humans is a really unsafe thing, ' he told Herald Sun. With higher testosterone levels, they can be more aggressive.

"Deer are much less likely to attack anyone than they are to run away from them", he said.

Steve Garlick, the chairman of the deer management committee at the Australian Deer Association, said it was very unusual for a deer to kill a person.

"It's not an everyday occurrence, but it's not unheard of for deer to kill people in that situation", he said.

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