Stag victim: 'I just thought he was playing with me'

Stags’ antlers can be formidable weapons. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Stags’ antlers can be formidable weapons. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Despite being gored by his pet 11-point stag, a Wairoa man says the ordeal hasn't put him off owning deer as pets.

Toby Taylor suffered puncture wounds and blood loss yesterday after being attacked by the deer he had bottle-fed from a foal.

He was rushed from his sheep and beef farm on Frasertown's Mangapoike Rd to Wairoa Hospital before being helicoptered to Hawke's Bay Hospital where he underwent surgery last night.

From his hospital bed this morning, the 50-year-old Wairoa College sports co-ordinator told APNZ the ordeal hadn't made him regret his choice of pet.

Bottle-fed from a foal, 'Col' was a great pet, Mr Taylor said. "You can pat him; he'll actually lick you to bits."

The ordeal started when Mr Taylor was returning his boat to its shed -- located in Col's paddock.

"I've got about five pet deer and two of them are stags. During the roar you don't go anywhere near them, but I went down the road in the morning and hopped in and gave him a pat and scratched his back and he laid down on the ground and he was happy as."

When he opened the gate to back his boat in, Mr Taylor said his fox terrier then ran into the paddock and chased the deer to the other end.

"And then the next thing the stag's chasing the foxie back, and he runs right up to me and the stag didn't stop.

"He followed the dog back and then he decided he couldn't get the dog because the dog was hiding under the bike so he got me instead.

"Quite often when you're on the outside of the fence you can pat him and he'll rear up on his back feet. He did that, I just thought he was playing with me [however] he came down with his antlers first this time and not his feet.

"I managed to grab his antlers the first time - he's about 100 kilos - and I sort of wrestled him and threw him away like he was playing with me, but he [wasn't], he came back and this time he had his antlers to the ground.

"When he hit me he just lifted his head straight up and lifted me off the ground basically and poked holes in me."

"I just rode up onto the verandah on the bike. My two big boys helped me inside and got some tourniquets out and tried to stop the bleeding.

"One of my Red Band gumboots was pretty much filled up with blood by then, so I knew it was quite bad."

His story had attracted the amusement of his co-workers, Mr Taylor said.

"I've spoken to Brian Simpson, my principal, and a lot of the staff are ringing me up and laughing at me. At least I can laugh back."

Mr Taylor said he was now planning to get rid of Col. "If no one wants him for a pet he's going to end up in my frypan."

"If he'd have pinned me to the ground I wouldn't be talking to you now."

However, he was still open to the idea of owning deer as pets. "If I come across another fawn I'll raise it again," he said.

Despite his unusual choice of pet, Mr Taylor described himself as a "passionate deer hunter".

"I probably shoot a dozen or 20 deer a year I suppose."

- APNZ

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