Reader Response: Vicious Deer

In Opinion, Wildlife

Donna sent me an email about the Vicious Deer video I posted last night. Here’s her comment:

“You need to STOP portraying animals as vicious. People are stupid and they do stupid things when they are around animals, whether the animals be domestic or wild. I am sick to death of everyone blaming animals for being in the wrong when it is the people who are in the wrong. This video is one more evidence of stupidity. The dog was not on a leash, was not under the control of its owner, and was certainly not contained in a fenced yard. People stood by, watched the cute little baby deer and the mother, and thought nothing of a dog or a cat coming in contact with a wild animal. Yes, the dog was kicked about and that is unfortunate. It is more unfortunate that the dog had to pay for the stupidity of its owner and the other people in the vicinity. You really do not serve wildlife or the Yosemite well when you produce these kinds of videos and messages.”

Thanks for the email Donna. I posted this video because I want people to think before they act. People need to think of these animals as being vicious. They need to think of them as not being the animal they saw at the San Diego Zoo or petted at the kiddie zoo. They need to think of them as being WILD and not tame pets on a leash. They NEED to know Yosemite is a real, wild place and isn’t Disney’s California Adventure.

I see people all the time feeding and trying to pet animals and approaching animals in an unsafe manner. Just look at the bear video from 2 days ago. Ok, there’s a bear coming your way and what do you do? Stand and take pictures of it hoping it gets close enough so you can get “the perfect shot”. The ranger wasn’t there to protect the people, he was there to protect the bear for the people and the people from themselves! Did it not occur to anyone to get back in their cars and let the bear cross the river back to it’s den or wherever it was going?

I honestly don’t care if someone’s dog harassing a deer got sent to the vet with contusions and broken bones. I want people who come to Yosemite to think about the deer they saw and remember the video of the dog getting smashed and think, “oh, well that thing could do that to me” before they get out of their car and try to feed it a tuna sandwich. I want people to think of the dog and cat in the video and think what could happen to them.

If you don’t believe I serve the wildlife in Yosemite by trying to make visitors realize it’s not a theme park and wildlife is WILD and should be kept wild, then fine, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. As for me I’m going to keep on trying to get people to understand Yosemite is a wild place and there are consequences for their actions. If posting that video makes just one person stop before approaching an animal and trying to feed it their lunch then I’ve accomplished my goal.

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5 commentsOn Reader Response: Vicious Deer

  • I think you’re both right. Wild animals aren’t vicious by nature, but neither should they be treated like house pets or animals at a petting zoo. If you have no natural respect for an animal, then maybe a hoof upside the head will teach the lesson. In this particular video, the photographer seemed eager to have the domestic animals engage the deer. The photographer, in effect, was just as much a numbnut as anyone trying to feed a deer their tuna sandwich.

  • Amen. I can’t believe how many tourists (particularly world travelers) I’ve seen behaving stupidly around wildlife both here and abroad. Everything from japanese tourist women in high heels chasing a baby Bison at Yellowstone while it’s mother looked about to charge, to people harassing injured wild animals thinking they’re being helpful. I do however think those of living in the Western US are a bit smarter about leaving wildlife alone.

  • I’m guessing no one recalls the girl that was killed in Yosemite several years back by a deer? I thought the video was an exceptionally strong teaching tool, but those who need to see it would see only the dog getting hurt, not understanding that it could have been a human (dog owner, guy shooting the video) in the path of those hoofs. Just watched the bear video. Honestly, the blatant stupidity of people never fails to astonish me. Had the bear attacked (defended itself) anyone, the BEAR would have paid the price for behaving as a bear. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the park and had to educate people about feeding the cute little ground squirrels, birds, etc. They get testy with me (I am always polite) but SOMEONE needs to say something. Thanks for at least trying to get people to think.

  • I have to side with Yosemite Blog on this one- people go to national parks, or into the wilderness, with little knowledge of the wildlife around them. Then when someone gets hurt, lawsuits are discussed, people look for blame, etc etc.

    As he said, this isn’t Disneyland- and animals are vindictive but they are vicious – and they are suppose to be because they are defending their lives or their baby’s lives.

    Black Bears in Yosemite might not be aggressive but too many want them to be their friends- then the bears can become aggressive, and what end’s up happening? The bear is put down for doing what it does.

    Treat wildlife with respect and you can enjoy some sites- but most don’t – they want a show, a circus act, or a pet, and if they do, they can’t expect not to get attacked.

  • Well said!

    Couldn’t agree more with both your point about thinking of the animals as dangerous and keeping their distance, AND not feeding them.

    Thanks for the post, and for what you do for Yosemite…one of the most amazing wilderness areas in our country.

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