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Aussie man killed by pet deer, wife critically hurt

Aussie man killed by pet deer, wife critically hurt

The animal, a cross between an elk and deer, attacked shortly after the man entered the enclosure on his property near the town of Wangaratta, 200 km northeast of Melbourne in Victoria state.

David Voss, president of the Australian Deer Association, a hunting and deer management organization, said farmed deer tend to be more aggressive than wild deer, but he had only heard of similar attacks "very occasionally".

The wife received life-threatening and remains in a critical condition at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

Local resident Patrice Larkin said she knew the couple well.

The pair was attacked by a deer just before 8.30am and the man died at the scene.

The 45-year-old mother-of-two had concerns about keeping the deer at the enclosure.

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Autumn is mating, or rutting, season for many species of deer, and is a particularly unsafe time to be around the wild animals.

"The deer was shot a couple of times for the safety of the male and female", Acting Senior Sargent Purcell said.

"They are a wild animal and a wild animal that loses its fear of humans is a really risky thing".

The deer was killed by police officers.

"It's tragic but not unheard of", Mr Howlett said. Deer have been reported in backyards and schools, and rutting deer have been seen harassing cattle.

Deer are not native to Australia and there are now large numbers of feral deer in parts of the country. Howlett said fallow and red deer become particularly aggressive during the mating season. (Nine) Paul McDonald and his wife Mandy were attacked by their pet deer at their Moyhu property.