When Patty Willis spotted an antlered deer with an orange collar outside her Michigan home last month, she took a couple of photos.
Shortly after, the deer left — or so she thought, WJRT reported. Willis, of Au Gres, then continued on to feed her chickens when the collared deer returned to view.
“That deer was coming right at me with his antlers right down fast,” she said, according to the Michigan TV station. “He wasn’t just walking he was moving at me like he seen me and just wanted to kill me.”
She said she turned toward the deer just as it crashed into her, Michigan Live reported.
“I thought I was going to die,” she said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It was moving fast, so I turned and I braced myself. And he just knocked me straight down, I went back about 10 feet. You know, I just tried to stay alive. I somehow got a hold of his antlers and I just screamed and screamed.”
As she continued yelling for help, she told the newspaper she used her legs to block the deer from her organs and didn’t let go of its antlers.
“That deer was out to fight,” she said, according to Michigan Live. “It was trying to kill me. It wasn’t trying to be nice to me, that’s for sure. It’s a very dangerous deer.”
She’s not sure she could have held on much longer.
“30 more seconds after holding onto his antlers and screaming for help. I’d of been dead,” Willis wrote on Facebook. “My son finally heard me and ran out after him. That Buck went after him also but he jumped and yelled like a caveman.”
Her son, Luke, told WJRT that he saw the deer “goring with his antlers” before he was able to scare it into running away.
Willis was in the hospital for three days with several puncture wounds, Michigan Live reported, and she needed 21 stitches on her hip, leg and hand.
Now, she’s asking anyone who sees the deer to stay away from it.
“This deer is deadly and not a pet,” she said on Facebook.
Lt. Brandon Kieft with Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources says the deer was likely being domesticated by someone else, which could have led to the rare deer attack, according to the Free Press.
But a collar doesn’t prove the deer was a pet, Kieft told Michigan Live.
“Maybe the deer frequented backyards and looked for quick, easy meals but wasn’t necessarily being kept,” he said, according to the newspaper. “There’s really no proof of who put the collar on and there’s no ability for us to prove the deer had been locked up anywhere because we have those other reports of it wandering miles away.”
Michigan law requires a permit to keep wildlife in captivity, and only licensed wildlife rehabilitators can keep animals who were injured or orphaned from the wild.
The state’s wildlife department is asking hunters who see the deer in an orange collar to shoot it if safe to do so, according to WJRT. Others are asked to contact Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.
Au Gres is a riverfront town near the Saginaw Bay.