How to Break Up a Deer Fight

Three Methods:Recognizing Why Deer FightBreaking Up a FightPreventing Fights in the Future

Deer fights are relatively common in areas where many types of deer thrive. In some rare cases, one or both of the deer will be killed due to severe injuries inflicted. Deer fights are most commonly between two bucks fighting over a female doe during mating season, although in some cases they can be between two does, and, very rarely, two fawns. Knowing how to break up a deer fight is vital for your safety as well as others. And, quite coincidentally, you may never even get to see a deer fight happening. If, however, you are ever caught between two deer ready to take on a brawl, then this article will teach you how to break it up before one or both of the deer get severely injured.

Method 1
Recognizing Why Deer Fight

  1. 1
    Assess why many deer fight. While there are multiple reasons about why deer choose to take on a brawl, there may be other conclusions to support your theory. As unusual as it may seem, many game wardens and park rangers know the many environmental factors associated with deer fights, such as food, territory, other deer, radiation, and other factors. Knowing one or more of these factors can help you recognize why deer fight, and may also help you break up a brawl whenever one may occur.
    • Many deer most commonly fight whenever they are encouraged by other deer to see environmental factors as items to be fought over for. This is known as competition. You may need to know what competition is in order to understand why deer fight, as this is one of the most important forms of niches in nature.
    • Does will sometimes fight male bucks in order to protect their young fawn or fawns. In cases such as these, killing options are limited.
    • And very rarely, fawns will get into a fight with another fawn for much of the same reasons as adult deer do. However, fawns are vulnerable to more severe injuries than adults due to their small size and stature.
    • Humans usually prefer to steer clear of fights unless one is so intense that one or both the deer could get killed easily.
  2. 2
    Know when deer are provoked. Whenever deer toss their head up and down (similar to a bull, but in an up and down motion) they are telling either you or another deer to stay away. Also, when male bucks shake or rattle their antlers, this means they are getting annoyed. You should learn to identify warning signs from a deer before a fight breaks out in order to escape or break it up before it gets too intense.
    • You should also listen for any snorting sounds from both genders of deer.
    • Female does commonly kick their back legs in the air if they are annoyed. This is similar to bucking from a horse.
    • Fawns make a slow, rasping sound from their throats.
    • You may need to notify game wardens if any deer is acting aggressively towards you, as deer, especially bucks, can be very dangerous.
  3. 3
    Know the consequences of a deer fight. The consequences of a deer fight can be damaging if intense enough. A very large buck might hurt a smaller buck, for example. A fawn can easily get injured by a buck's antlers, too. Make sure you know how to attend to any severe wounds a deer might have after a fight.
    • This step only will apply if you're a game warden, a park ranger, or an experienced wildlife specialist. This will not work if you are just a tourist visiting a national park, for example.
    • If you are a tourist visiting a national park, let the experienced game wardens handle the deer. They have more experience and knowledge, and know how to break up an animal fight more easily.
  4. 4
    Know when to never interfere during a deer fight. As stated above, let the experienced game wardens handle the deer. This includes biologists, fieldologists, park rangers, etc. Don't put yourself in a bad position by attempting to interfere during the fight.
    • If you must absolutely interfere during a fight, however, refer to the steps below for more information.
    • This step is not guaranteed to work 100% of the time. You may get severely injured by putting yourself in a bad position. When in doubt, ask a game warden or a park ranger about the deer. They are there to help you, not harm you.
    • Never interfere during a fight if you think one or both of the deer are intending to harm you.

Method 2
Breaking Up a Fight

  1. 1
    Identify if it is, in fact, two deer fighting. You don't want to interfere during a fight, only to find out that it is two moose fighting. You must recognize that it is actually two deer fighting, instead of just two other bovines fighting.
    • Deer are generally skinnier and have a different skin type than other bovines.
    • A deer's hooves are really elongated toes, but they are very sharp, capable of ripping flesh and leaving gaping holes.
    • Deer also have a black nose and snout.
    • A deer's antlers are made up of bone, just like other bovines. They can be straight, curved, etc.
  2. 2
    Assess why the deer are fighting. Who or what are they fighting for? Is it territory, a doe, food, or just something valuable in general?
    • If you cannot tell what the deer are fighting over, then it is best not to interfere during the fight at all. It's not worth getting injured and then having to go to the hospital. Leave the fight to a professional.
    • If you can tell what the deer are fighting over, however, notify the authorities immediately. If you are able or absolutely have to break up the fight, follow the steps below.
  3. 3
    Only intervene if it appears that the fight is so intense that one or both of the deer could get killed. If you are able to intervene successfully without getting yourself seriously injured, then you may do so, but proceed with caution.
    • Get in between both of the deer. Hopefully you won't be trampled by the deer's hooves.
    • Grab both of each of the deer's legs to pry them apart. This is more effective if you have a partner with you, as they can handle one deer while you can handle the other.
    • Be very cautious and stay out of reach from the deer's sharp hooves, as they can cut you. Watch the antlers as well.
  4. 4
    Drag the deer away from each other. This step is more effective if you have a partner with you. If you cannot get in between the fighting deer or are afraid of getting hurt, approach them quickly from behind and grab their back legs to drag them away from the other deer. Your partner should do the same.
    • Be very careful with this step, as a deer can easily kick you out of fear or anger.
    • Male deer may also become aggressive.
  5. 5
    Distract the deer. If you are not able to separate the deer physically, then you'll have to distract them without actually putting yourself in harm's way. Throw something at the deer, such as a stick, a ball, your backpack, a book, anything to distract the deer before they hurt each other further.
    • Be cautious, as deer can perceive your actions as threatening.
    • You can also throw a blanket or something similar over the deer to blind them. If they can't see each other anymore, then they'll most likely stop fighting.
    • Notify game wardens if one or both deer turn on you.
  6. 6
    After you successfully break up the deer, get away from the area as soon as possible, as the deer can pursue you if angry enough. Call the authorities immediately and let them know what has happened.
    • Do not go looking for either of the deer involved in the fight as proof. They may still be angry. Leave the searching to the authorities.

Method 3
Preventing Fights in the Future

  1. 1
    Don't go near areas where deer are known to roam. If deer sense that humans are in their territory, they may become fierce and attack other deer. This method only applies to bucks, not does or fawns.
    • Common areas where deer are known to live include swamps, forests, taigas, tundras, and national parks. In national parks, ask authorities if any deer that are living in the forests are considered safe before heading out.
    • Read laws and regulations concerning deer before going out in unknown terrain. Better safe than sorry.
  2. 2
    Do not feed the deer. Feeding only encourages competition, as well as fights breaking out between deer.
    • Feeding deer also encourages deer to see humans as nonthreatening, which may put them too close to human resources, such as roads or farms. Bucks may also become aggressive.
  3. 3
    Don't encourage competition. Competition is one of the many reasons why deer fight because it pushes them to a certain level in order to get what they want. So don't feed them or bother them constantly.
    • Do not assume deer only compete with their own kind. They can compete with all other kinds of animals, such as foxes, rabbits, birds, coyotes, wolves, or even bears.
    • Bucks are most aggressive during mating season, when they have does to defend from other bucks.
  4. 4
    Tell authorities whenever you feel uncomfortable around competitive animals like deer. Always notify authorities whenever you see deer fighting. They will handle it.
    • Park rangers and game wardens know what they're doing. Allow them to handle the situation, because they are experienced at this.


  • Always check in with the local authorities before heading out in unfamiliar territory.
  • Remember, deer are living animals, not play toys. Treat them with the kindness and respect you would show to any animal.
  • If you have something to throw at the deer, throw it to distract them.
  • If you have children with you, order them to stay behind you.
  • It is very useful to have a partner with you whenever you go out into unfamiliar territory.


  • Realize that deer are not the only bovines that can get into fights. Moose, elk, caribou, and many other bovines can get into brawls, too, so know the laws and regulations of a national park concerning bovines before you head out.
  • Do not use any type of firearm to kill one or both of the deer unless firearms are allowed in the area. Shooting any animals will most likely result in a fine and a visit in jail. Always check your local laws on firearms.
  • If deer ever pursue you, leave your belongings behind and run. Your items can always be replaced, while you cannot be.
  • As stated above, do not feed the deer. This encourages competition and also causes deer to lose their fear of humans.
  • Deer are very dangerous and unpredictable animals. Do not attempt to approach one from behind or corner one.
  • If you are out hunting and have a hunting dog with you, leash it and keep it quiet unless you are sure it is strong enough to bring down the deer. Otherwise, you may risk losing it or it running quickly back to you----with an angry deer in pursuit!
  • Do not grab the deer's head. It will turn on you faster than you can react and its antlers may gore you or impale you through your neck.
  • A deer's antlers may also tear the vertebrate in your neck, causing serious injury.
  • Bucks are more aggressive than does or fawns, especially during mating season. Learn to avoid them.

Article Info

Categories: Wildlife