Photographer Gored by ‘Normally Friendly’ Deer at Popular Tourist Spot

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Alexander W. Helin/Getty Images)

A photographer in Scotland was recently gored by a deer described as “normally friendly.” The photographer, who was not identified, was at the Kingshouse Hotel near Glencoe, Scotland, where a deer usually hangs out. People pet the deer, take photos, and even hand-feed it. The herd of deer that congregates near the hotel has become a popular tourist attraction.

But, on Nov. 4, the normally friendly deer changed its tune suddenly. The photographer said that the deer charged her, leaving a mark on her ribs with its antlers. Now, she’s warning others to stay away from the wild deer and stop petting and feeding them. Sound familiar, Yellowstone National Park visitors?

“I’m a keen amateur photographer and have photographed these deer many times before,” the photographer told the Scotsman. “Last year there were dozens of them in the driveway to the hotel, and the one big one in the car park – he’s always there. This year he was the only one in [sight] and there were signs asking people not to feed the deer, which I have not seen before.”

She continued, “I got out the car to photograph him – he was about six feet from the car. He bent his head down, slightly threateningly, so I backed up a foot or so, then he suddenly put his head down and charged, catching me on my side, knocking me back, but not off my feet.”

Scotland Photographer Recalls Scary Encounter With ‘Normally Friendly’ Wild Deer

“It was totally out of the blue,” she told the outlet. “I’ve never seen the deer do this at all as they are renowned for being so tame here. Seconds after he charged me he was eating a carrot from someone else’s car window. If he had had a longer run-up than six feet, I would have been in trouble.”

She is now worried that other people and especially children may be in danger from this deer. What it comes down to, is that wild deer are just that: wild. They’re unpredictable on a good day, but if they’ve been exposed to people with food, they can get aggressive when they don’t get what they’re expecting. That’s why National Parks and other untamed places have strict warnings not to interact with wildlife. Watch from a distance, and never give the animals food. Though, some people still disregard these guidelines.

“I’ve been remarkably lucky. He hasn’t broken my skin, but there are clear gore marks – I am going to be pretty bruised and my entire side is aching,” the photographer said. “The height he hit me at was at a child’s eye line. I actually warned off other families approaching me as it was pretty scary how quickly he suddenly charged with no warning.”

The Kingshouse Hotel also warns visitors not to feed or interact with the deer, and to take photos from a distance. “Our neighbours are a curious and hungry bunch,” their website states. “But we send a polite reminder that the deer are wild animals, not tame pets. We recommend that photographs be taken from a distance.”