CARBONDALE - While most experts say a deer's natural defense mechanism is "flight" rather than "fight," a doe wandering through Thompson Woods on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus Tuesday bucked instincts and
attacked three unsuspecting people.
When I was a student at SIU, I walked through Thompson woods almost daily. You almost have to to get across campus. But I never saw anything larger than a squirrel.
Ron Gillette, a 57-year-old student of economics and foreign language international trade, was one of the victims to experience the wrath of a doe apparently trying to protect two fawns.
Gillette said he was still surprised when the doe burst through the brush, onto the walkway and reared up at him, intending to strike him down with her sharp hoofs.
More than 20 years of deer hunting didn't quite prepare Gillette for hand-to-hand combat with one, but he was quick on his feet, ducking the doe's blows and returning with a sharp uppercut to the doe's chin.
The deer attacked once more. Gillette repeated his pattern, delivering another punch to the doe's head.
This time, he said, the deer backed off but continued to stare Gillette down as he cautiously made his way into the library.
SIUC police report that, after the deer's altercation with Gillette, it attacked two other unidentified students along Thompson Woods paths between Faner Hall and Morris Library. One student was treated at SIUC Student Health Services, the other at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.
Sgt. Harold Tucker said officers have taped off the inner paths of the woods to pedestrians in hope of avoiding any more conflicts with the doe. The last sighting Tuesday evening had the deer deep into the forested area, well away from the paths, Tucker said.