Renegade deer stalks Sun Valley ... Police say animal likely has "gone bad" since becoming domesticated
By Pat Murphy
SUN VALLEY -- A renegade deer that stalked and attempted to attack at least two people in Sun Valley in less than 24 hours eluded police and state Fish and Game officers Wednesday.
Sun Valley police officers witnessed both attempted attacks by the deer, which was described by one of its intended targets as a "very big" antlerless bull weighing about 200 pounds.
Sun Valley Police Chief Cam Daggett said police were first alerted to the deer Tuesday night about 8:30 p.m. when Officer Mike Abaid spotted the deer chasing a bicyclist pedaling frantically along Sun Valley Road toward downtown Ketchum.
The officer pulled his SUV patrol car between the deer and the cyclist in the parking lot of the Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, which is six blocks from Ketchum's Main Street and only a block from fashionable shops. The deer then vanished into the darkness.
Chief Daggett said the man, identified only by the last name of Fitzgerald, told police he was mountain biking at Proctor Mountain near Sun Valley's most expensive homes when the deer appeared and began stalking him.
The cyclist detoured down a path past the Sun Valley resort's Trail Creek Cabin in hopes of escaping, but the deer pursued him for some two miles along Trail Creek/Sun Valley Road until the police officer interceded.
Then, according to Chief Daggett, the deer reappeared a few hours later just before midnight behind the Catholic Church in a condo complex, Val de Sol, frightening a resident who returned to his residence rather than taking a walk.
By 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, the deer made another appearance.
Chief Daggett said Sun Valley officer Derek Brown, who was parked conducting radar speed checks, witnessed the deer charging up behind Marlin Miller, 41, a masonry contractor, at the intersection of Sun Valley Road and Bitterroot, only a block from the Catholic Church.
Miller told The Times-News that as he walked his 6-year-old wolf-like dog, Tundra, he turned just in time to see the deer rear up on his hind legs and begin the tell-tale scissoring action of his front legs preparatory to an attack on him and his dog.
Officer Brown then drove his SUV between the deer and Miller, who jumped into the police car with his dog. The deer then vanished again into the night.
Just over a year ago, Miller said he and his dog were attacked by a moose just off Highway 75 south of Ketchum while hiking across the highway from the St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center. Miller said he stumbled onto the moose's sleeping area. The attack seriously injured his dog, who needed surgery and a plastic knee, he said.
Chief Daggett said he had never heard of a deer stalking and attacking people. He said the deer probably was fed by humans thinking they were doing a good deed, but has become domesticated, has no fear of humans and has "gone bad."
He described both men as genuinely "very scared" by the episodes.
The deer was last seen in a large meadow area bordering both sides of Sun Valley Road where trail and sleigh horses are kept in a barn or in the open.
The chief said that unfortunately the deer might have to be destroyed by Fish and Game agents when found to prevent further attacks in the populated area.