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Aggressive Deer in Colstrip

Fish & Wildlife - Region 7

Tue Jun 28 13:08:00 MDT 2011

Recently female deer in Colstrip have been aggressive toward dogs being walked by their owners. According to FWP Warden Bill Dawson, “There have been three known incidents involving a lone female deer although it is unknown if it was the same deer involved in all of the incidents.” 
One incident that occurred north of the Schaeffer Soccer Fields, an aggressive doe attacked and injured a dog and the deer remained in the area for half an hour after repeated efforts to haze it away by an adult and two teenagers. FWP, following guidelines in the Colstrip Deer Management Plan that allows for the removal of aggressive deer that threaten public safety, authorized the removal of this deer. However efforts to remove the deer have been unsuccessful, as responding officers were unable to positively identify the individual problem deer.
FWP advises that a natural defensive response for deer, especially female deer with fawns, is to be aggressive toward small to medium sized dogs, similar to how they would respond to wild predators such as coyotes. Warden Dawson indicated that it is not justified to kill every deer that displays aggression toward dogs, however if a deer’s natural fear of humans is absent it puts the public at risk and in an urban setting they should be dealt with.
FWP advises Colstrip residents they should be cautious of deer when walking small to medium sized dogs. Warden Dawson suggests that although it is usually enough to alter your course of travel to give the deer plenty of room, you may consider carrying a walking stick or a personal defense spray (such as bear pepper spray). Residents are asked to report any deer displaying aggressive behavior by calling Warden Dawson at 406-853-7800 or contact the Colstrip Police Department at 406-748-2211.