Can You Pet a Wild Deer? 4 Reasons Why it’s NOT a Great Idea!

Deer are so cute and cuddly aren’t they? Wouldn’t it be amazing to reach out and touch one?

For some reason people have a false perception of these animals. Maybe it’s the way they’ve been portrayed in childhood cartoons or the fact that they don’t have a predatory appearance.

So, can you pet a wild deer?

No, you absolutely can not pet a wild deer for 4 main reasons: Potential Injury, Risk of Disease, Stress to the Deer, and Legal Ramifications. The Risk/Reward ratio for petting a deer is EXTREMELY UNFAVORABLE! Doing so can result in harming yourself, the deer, and winding up in a heap load of legal trouble. Again, DO NOT pet a wild deer!

Potential Injury

People seem to forget that regardless of their appearance, deer are wild animals.

What does that mean exactly? They’re undomesticated and unpredictable.

If they’re unpredictable, logic would follow that there’s no telling how one would react to being touched.

Deer have very powerful legs and sharp hooves that can easily injure you if your deer interaction goes south.

Not to mention, bucks have sharp antlers that can pierce human flesh without much effort.

Deer can be quite temperamental. They may appear friendly at first but are easily spooked and can deliver a powerful kick or charge at a moment’s notice.

Check out this video of just how violent a scared deer can be:

Risk of Disease

Next up for why petting a deer is an awful idea is the fact that you can obtain a disease by touching them.

That’s right folks. Deer have a variety of parasites and diseases that you want absolutely no part of.

An example of such a disease is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This infectious disease, affectionately known as “zombie deer disease” was previously thought to not be transmissible to humans. However, research out of the University of Calgary has shown that there is in fact potential for humans to catch this awful brain-eating disease.

Are you starting to see the pitfalls of petting a wild deer yet?

Stress to the Deer

If potential injury or disease wasn’t enough to compel you to stay away from these animals, let’s talk about the potential harm you may do to the deer.

You may think of stress as something that is unique to humans, however deer can become quite stressed when people decide to touch them.

This can have an adverse impact on the deer’s health with unknown consequences.

Regardless, it’s not worth risking a deer’s well-being to simply touch it.

Legal Ramifications

Now let’s say all of the aforementioned reasons don’t bother you one bit.

Well, let’s see what the law has to say about your wild deer-petting endeavor!

In many states and localities, it is illegal to harass or approach wild animals such as deer; especially a fawn!

Don’t believe it? Here is a flyer put out by the North Carolina Resources Commission, explicitly stating that touching a fawn is “biologically irresponsible and ILLEGAL.”

Doing so can result in hefty fines and even potential jail time.

Final Thoughts

By now you know where we stand on the question, Can you pet a wild deer?

The answer to this question is an absolute and unequivocal NO!

What you perceive to be as a bonding moment in nature is in fact a major risk to the health of you, the deer, and your future with law enforcement.

If you see a deer in its natural habitat, it’s best to admire it from afar and leave it alone.

In the event you find yourself with a deer following you, it’s important to remember these tips as well!

We hope you enjoyed our article and would love to hear about your experiences with these animals in the comment section below!

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