Seven Deer Killed by Lighting Strike

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Some bizarre news running over at the Chicago Tribune. A group of seven deer were found dead apparently all killed by a single lightning strike in a Wisconsin farm field.

After neighbors found the deer Monday and called authorities, a Kenosha County Sheriff's deputy on Tuesday went out to the rural field located near Salem, Wis., about 5 miles from the Illinois border, and found the six dead deer lying in a circle with another one a distance away. In the center of the group of six there was a hole about 5 inches deep and 5 inches across, said Sgt. Bill Beth of the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.


GooseHunter Jr's picture

That is a pretty crazy

That is a pretty crazy story.  I have been caught in a lighting storm while duck duck hunting nd one time on a elk ow hunting trip.  That thing scare me when I m out in the just never know where it's gonna hit...sorry for the pun.

arrowflipper's picture

more often

I'm sure this happens a lot more often than we know.  How many animals die this way every year that no one knows anything about?  We hear of it when a person gets struck, but I'd guess most of the animals killed by lightning never get found.  But all people get found because they come up missing.

What should a person do when caught in an electric storm way out in nowhere?  We are told NOT to sit under any tall trees.  I sure wouldn't want to sit out in the middle of a field without anything around me either.  Carrying my rifle slung over my shoulder scares me to death.... who needs to get hit by lighting?  I don't think I'd leave my rifle out in the woods either, but I don't think I'd sling it over my shoulder.  Maybe hold it as low as I could and walk as fast as I could to get to safety.

Are you safer sitting in one spot or moving?  Is there any particular activity that promotes the chances of being struck?

I spent several days this past September on top of a mountain in a fire lookout tower.  Here in Washington State we still have several functioning towers.  Some are manned (or womaned) by full-time paid employees but one is manned by volunteers.  Before you can take over the tower, you must attend a full day class to learn all bout what is done.  My brother-in-law and I spent three nights and four days on top that mountain.  There is a large copper rod running from the tower down into the ground, but there are also two little stools in the tower in case of an electric storm.  The stools have glass ball legs and when lightning begins, we were told to stand or sit on that little stool until it passes.  One volunteer stood on it for four hours.  But when you have lightning flashing all around you, that little stool feels mighty good under your feet.

From the story of the seven deer, it doesn't sound like they were all struck, but rather the lighting struck by them and the electricity carried through the ground.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

I have actually seen this

I have actually seen this with people too, sadly. 

My Dad has coached high school softball in Vermont for 27 years or so, and I was an assistant for a couple of years back in the mid 90's.  There was a girl on another team in the league, who was a senior and just elected to the North/South all-star team, which my Dad was coaching.

The high school season was done, but she was playing an adult league game, and lightning hit the field, in the outfield where she was playing.  I guess it knocked all 3 outfielders to the ground, and she never got up.  She died at the hospital.

I absolutely love thunderstorms, and weather in general, but you really have to respect mother nature.

hunter25's picture

Lightning is a scary thing

Lightning is a scary thing out here. I have always known that some animals got hit but apparently there are a lot more that I thought. Pretty hard to keep track of all the wild animals that may have perished this way. Here in Colorado I have not read of many animals but a person getting hit makes the news every couple of years. We had one guy about 15 years ago up on the flat tops I think that got hit and briefly survived but while his friend was trying to help him he got hit a second time.

I have been very nervous a couple of times hiking off the mountain during a lightning storm with my rifle over my shoulder. Nothing like the feeling of a personal lightning rod to make you comfortable. I was not going to leave it behind and obviously have never had a problem but it's a little scary just the same.

groovy mike's picture

It does happen

The article says that it is common among groups of cows.  And I have heard of it happening locally where three or four cows all get killed by the same lightning strike.  The cattle will congregate under a big tree in an open field to get shelter from the rain.  If lightning strikes that tree, they all get hit by it.

jaybe's picture

Yes - I have also heard of

Yes - I have also heard of this happening to cows and also deer. I had a friend who boarded horses and they were out in the pasture, as was their normal activity. I was at my house about 1/2 mile away on a perfectly sunny day. We happened to notice a fairly small cloud drift over and even commented on the fact that it seemed out of place. About 15 minutes later, we heard thunder from the direction of my friend's farm. "That was strange! It usually doesn't thunder on a bright, sunny day like this."

That evening, two of my friend's horses didn't come to the barn as they usually do. He found them both dead in the field next to each other. The only thing that made any sense was that they were both killed by that one "stray" bolt of lightning on an otherwise clear day.

Another time, he found two deer lying dead in his field after a rainstorm which had lightning accompanying it. They happened to be right next to his electric wire that went around the horse pasture, and he figured that the lightning was attracted to the spot by both their wet bodies and the fence wire. Go figure.