A woman checking a mailbox in Maryville, Tennessee, was seriously injured Monday when she was attacked from behind by a white-tailed deer, according to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials.
Around 12:40 p.m. Monday, an unnamed woman from Tellico Plains was attacked by what TWRA officials described as "a humanized white-tailed deer," outside the business where she works on Springview Road on the southern end of Maryville.
"The injured woman was getting the mail when the deer came up behind her and slammed into her back knocking her to the ground," TWRA officials said in a post on social media. "The deer then circled around her and began goring her with its antlers. The woman shielded herself from further injury and latched on to the deer's antlers. The deer then drug her around and continued the attack.
"Three unknown bystanders assisted the woman as the deer continued to drag and injure her, but were eventually able to separate the deer and get her to safety," officials said in the post. "The victim was transported to Blount Co. Memorial Hospital where she was admitted for serious injuries."
Wildlife officers located the deer at a residence near the attack.
"The deer was wearing an orange collar around its neck and officers observed it acting unnaturally humanized," officials said. "The officers immobilized the deer, removed it from the residence and euthanized it at another location."
Officials said a criminal investigation is ongoing "but preliminary information suggests the deer was raised by humans from a very young age and unnaturally humanized."
The four-point buck was about one-and-a-half years old and weighed about 75 pounds, officials said.
The incident demonstrates the importance of leaving wild animals alone, officials said.
"This is an unfortunate example of the consequences that come from habituating and humanizing wild animals. In the case of humanized white-tailed buck deer, TWRA sees several situations where they become aggressive towards humans, oftentimes women when rutting activity begins," officials said in the post. "This same rutting activity is also responsible for the uptick in deer versus vehicle collisions in the fall as deer are more mobile during the breeding season."