SAINT-LEONARD, N.B. - A New Brunswick man who was attacked by a male deer died after a violent struggle, the RCMP said Wednesday.
Donald Dube, 55, was killed Sunday evening while feeding his herd of domesticated deer behind his home in Saint-Leonard.
RCMP Sgt. Marc Violette said investigators believe the dominant buck in the herd attacked and killed Dube with its antlers and hoofs.
Violette said there were signs of a struggle so violent that Dube was missing a boot and sock when his body was found by officers in a pen where the animals were kept.
"The animal probably stomped on him and used his antlers to rough him up and throw him around like a rag doll," he said.
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An autopsy concluded that Dube suffered massive internal injuries.
Violette said the homeowner went out to feed the animals and his wife got worried when he didn't return home or answer her calls to his cellphone. She called police, who went to the rural home to find Dube's body.
Violette said it's rutting season — a time of year when bucks compete against each other to mate with does.
"It's obvious he was attacked by one of the bucks, the dominant male in the herd," he said.
"Adult male deer this time of year have significant antlers and in the wild they are very adept at using them to fend off predators —coyotes, foxes, rabid dogs, what have you."
He said the bucks use their racks to pin their adversary to the ground, then put all their weight on them.
"All their weight is on their neck and they'll grind. Those antlers are sharp and they'll poke skin and muscle tissue very easily."
Violette didn't know why Dube kept deer, but suspects it was a hobby and "for a bit of meat here and there."