Michigan Woman Fends Off Buck Attack by Grappling Antlers: ‘I Just Tried To Stay Alive’

by Jon D. B.

If not for her son, this Michigan woman believes she would “surely be dead” after a white-tailed buck charged and gored her arms, legs, and hip.

Arenac County resident Patty Willis would first spot the deer in her rural neighborhood. The only thing out of the ordinary was the bright orange collar this buck was wearing. Odd, she thought.

“I looked and there was this deer standing at the fence with an orange collar,” Willis begins for local ABC 12 News. At first, the buck didn’t seem interested in her at all, eventually disappearing.

The mother was even able to snap several photos of the buck before things took an unbelievable turn. That same Sunday morning, Sept. 26, Willis began feeding her chickens in their coop when something big charged into her view.

“That deer was coming right at me with his antlers right down fast, he wasn’t just walking he was moving at me like he seen me and just wanted to kill me,” she recalls frantically for the outlet.

Before long, the buck had Patty completely pinned to the ground. It would succeed in puncturing her several times, which led to a three-day stay in the hospital to stitch up her hands, legs, and hip.

“I got a hold of his horns, his antlers and that’s where he kept… He was relentless,” she continues. In desperation, Patty screamed for help as the deer kept goring her.

“If somebody don’t hear me they are going to find me dead out here,” she remembers thinking to herself.

Then, her son, Luke, would finally answer her screams.

Michigan Woman’s Son Saves Her from Wildly Aggressive Buck

“I seen this buck on top of her,” Luke tells ABC 12. “It was goring with his antlers so I just took off from the back door, ran up to it roaring, making myself look as big as a grizzly bear,” he recalls of trying to scare off the aggressive buck.

His ploy worked. The aggressive white-tail took off. But not for long. As Luke helped his mother up, the deer came back for another charge. Thankfully, he was able to get Patty into the house before the buck could strike again.

“If I wouldn’t have seen that deer, I don’t where it would have got me, maybe in my side, my lungs it would have killed me,” Patty says.

As a result, she would spend three days in the hospital. 22 stitches were required to close up the wounds across her legs, hands, and hip. The ordeal also left her with injuries to her shoulder and knee.

After the severity of the attack, Michigan’s DNR is investigating the buck attack. So far, the agency has discovered a person who lives nearby that kept a fawn in his home around 2020. After a warning, that young deer would be let loose. Further investigation names these individuals as the culprits for placing the orange collar on the aggressive buck.

Yet the DNR says no evidence of a crime is present. If any hunter in the area sees the white-tailed deer buck with an orange collar, though, DNR wants it shot and killed.

For Patty, however, “It was dramatic, it was a very near-death experience, that’s the only way I can explain it and very life changing for me.”