Trapped in a rut

A Canadian farmer dies after wandering into a deer compound during mating season.

By Jack Boulware
October 6, 2000 11:31PM (UTC)
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We've all heard the phrase "Don't bother a dog at its bowl." This handy piece of advice can be extended to any species involved in a primal activity of nature. The animals just don't like being interrupted; they're busy. A lack of such common sense resulted in an extremely unfortunate death in Canada last week, when a farmer tasted the wrath of an angry buck deer during rutting season.

News reports don't say exactly why 54-year-old William McCavanagh wandered into a deer compound filled with 13 ripe and ready does in the middle of rutting season. But it's safe to say that the poor farmer was exactly in the wrong place at the wrong time. His body was discovered by a neighbor last week, covered with bites and other injuries that suggested he had bothered a buck deer at its "bowl" and got his ass kicked.


The rutting season for deer in Canada extends from September to December. During this amorous festival of sex, male deer become very aggressive and territorial as their hormones surge with the natural desire to procreate. One shouldn't bother them -- they have lots of work to do.

"People have to be very cautious when handling the deer and interacting with them during rutting season," said livestock specialist Brian Tapscott of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. A helpful hint that comes too little, too late for poor McCavanagh.

The nature of his injuries strongly suggested that the farmer was attacked by an angry buck deer, police told reporters. "The deer had been at him," declared Constable Hal Brown of the Ontario Provincial Police. "But we're not sure if the deer killed him or he maybe had a medical problem beforehand -- for example, a heart attack."


Either way, there are lots of better ways to die than at the hands -- or horns -- of a pissed-off, horny deer. A formal autopsy will be conducted, authorities said.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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