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GRAPPLE | With Issues and Ideas

Why They Call Them "Axes" | Not Dead Yet | The Next Big Thing | Solyndra in Perspective | Woe Is Us |
Raw-Milk Menace | Up to Speed

Ready, set, panic

John Ueland

They congregate in parks and downtowns, menacing passersby and challenging cars. Occasionally they attack--pummeling, head-butting, or stomping their victims, leaving them bruised and bloodied.

This is what happens when deer go bad. Bulked up on garden greenery and increasingly unchecked by traditional predators, ungulates worldwide are losing their deer-in-the-headlights passivity. In early summer, protective does are going after dogs. (See a graphic video at http://bit.ly/deerattack.) In the fall rut, it's the bucks you need to watch out for; in London, the "Beast of Bushy Park" recently knocked down two people out for a stroll, goring one.

"People are scared," reports Chris Zettel, spokesman for the town of Cranbrook, British Columbia, where a third of the population has reported being threatened. In nearby Kimberly, a pair of deer brutalized a woman with two small dogs, sending her to the hospital. In Helena, Montana, a buck terrorized staffers at a daycare center and mauled a bichon frise owned by Senator Max Baucus's mother. In Ashland, Oregon, a series of attacks has townspeople talking about "Bambi gone bad."

Time may be running out for the hooved hooligans. Helena officials have begun trapping urban deer, dispatching them with a bolt gun, and distributing the venison to local charities. Cranbrook has a similar plan, which supporters hope will remind deer of their place in the food chain. "There's certainly an appetite for the meat," Zettel says. "In Helena, there's a waiting list.".—Dashka Slater

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