Deer attack: Man dead, woman fighting for life

A Sambar deer at a national park in India. There is a significant population of the Sambar deer species in north-east Victoria in Australia

A pet deer killed a man and left a woman critically injured at a rural property in Australia, police said.

ABC reported the stag had been kept at the property near the town of Wangaratta, 200km northeast of Melbourne, for six years.

Paul McDonald went outside to feed his pet deer on Wednesday morning.

Paul McDonald was killed by his deer in Moyhu, near Wangaratta.

The ABC has been told the couple's teenage son hit the deer with a lump of wood to save his mother.

Both people suffered critical injuries however the man died at the scene a short time later.

He said it was not the first time he had heard of a deer killing a human during mating season.

Police euthanised the deer because of concerns for the paramedic's safety on scene.

Red deer can be successfully bred with the larger wapiti species of deer-but they do not produce fertile offspring.

Deer were introduced to Australia in the 19th century and are regarded as a pest, with up to one million wild deer in Victoria state, according to government estimates.

The southern hemisphere is now in the middle of the autumn mating season.

"At some point while he was in the enclosure he was attacked by the deer", Acting Senior Sargent Paul Purcell said.

Pursell warned that deer behaviour could be unpredictable.

Attacks by deer are rare, and fatalities even rarer.

A study into Australian deaths caused by animals undertaken by the University of Melbourne's Dr Ronelle Welton showed no fatal deer attacks between 2000 to 2013.

Last year, a young girl was gored in the thigh by a stag at a park in London after her family strayed too close to take photographs.

The attack occurred again in the autumn mating season. "The people who are involved in the incident are well known to them, so what we're looking at putting in place are some opportunities for counseling for community members".

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