Deer gores woman, injures neighbor in Pierce County
STEILACOOM, Wash. -- Larry Schmidt has spent the past few decades living about 100 yards from a deer: yellow and black, two dimensional, tacked to a sign on the Steilacoom road where he lives.
It was a second deer, however, of the three-dimensional kind, that Schmidt encountered about 50 yards from his back door Wednesday.
The encounter, which Schmidt likened to a sort-of wrestling match, had him calling 911.
"That's my first deer I've wrestled," he said, laughing, Thursday night. "It was just a crazy experience."
The story, it appears, goes something like this: Schmidt's neighbor, Lynn Johnson, spotted the animal in her backyard Wednesday. Most deer visit her apple trees, eat, and move on, she said, but this deer appeared sick and lethargic.
"He was laying in the yard. I thought he was dying," she said.
So she called Schmidt, who hopped the fence between their two homes to come check it out.
"His ears twitched a little bit and stuff, but I could tell he's really sick," Schmidt said of the deer, "so I squatted down and I pet him on his neck, and he just rolled his eyes, like, 'Oh man, that feels good.'"
"And I pet him again, and, all of a sudden, he just went berserk," Schmidt said. "He knocked me on the ground."
Schmidt said the deer stuck its head - and four-inch antlers - between his legs and shook him, before going after Johnson.
"I tried to get out of the way and he gored me with his horn," Johnson said. "I've heard of it happening. I've read about it, but I've never experienced it."
Johnson and Schmidt felt stuck. The deer was staring them down. Schmidt reached for his cell phone and called 911. Officers arrived and, Schmidt says, had no choice but to shoot.
It was a tough moment for Schmidt, a former farmer and Vietnam veteran.
"I'm an animal lover, but I know when it's time for an animal to be put down," Schmidt said. "He was just mean."
Schmidt went to the doctor that evening but required little attention beyond some medication. His neighbor needed three stitches and a tetanus shot.
"I was so shook up. I'm still nervous today," he said. "It was quite an experience."