Officials Kill Deer That Gored Man To Death

Man Dies After Violent Deer Attack

A deer believed to be the one that gored a Rancho Santa Fe resident in his back yard, causing the man's death, was shot by federal trackers, and postmortem tests on the animal were pending Thursday.

Ron Dudek, 73, died Monday from a pulmonary blood clot that resulted from the violent encounter with the 6-foot-tall wild animal outside his northern San Diego home three weeks ago.

Dudek reportedly was picking tomatoes Sept. 25 when the 6-foot-tall buck charged out of a patch of shrubbery and gored him in the face with its antlers before running off. The 73-year-old was rushed to the hospital and had to have 220 stitches on his face.

Dudek was released from the hospital two weeks later, but then died Monday. An autopsy revealed that the deer's blow caused a blot clot that went to Dudek's lungs and killed him.

Though a necropsy may determine if the animal was diseased, its fatal contact with Dudek was apparently an "unfortunate accident," according to the California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano.

"It was sort of cornered, and there was only one escape route," Martarano said. "It was trying to get away and gored him in the process."

At about dusk Wednesday night, personnel with the U.S. Department of Agriculture located two bucks matching the description of the one that injured Dudek and shot them both.

They took the carcasses to the County Veterinarian's Office for examination.

Preliminary evidence suggests that the animal in question was not "an aggressive deer, per se," but rather an example of the clash of man and nature in semirural surroundings, Martarano said.

The buck was part of a small herd whose dozen or so members have lost much of their fear of people, likely by being fed and allowed to wander near homes, according to investigators.

Fish and Game personnel will offer their assistance to area resident groups in drafting plans, possibly including public fencing, for avoiding such clashes with wildlife in the future, Martarano said. They said the attack was the third violent deer encounter reported in the state during the last month.

Among the hazards to humans potentially created by the presence of an uncontrolled deer population near homes is an influx of mountain lions seeking their natural prey, he added.

Dudek's wife, Joanne, did not want the deer to be killed.

"We don't insist that the deer be killed. We just want them to remove him from the area and put him somewhere else where he can't hurt anybody," she said.

Joanne Dudek also said she is not pleased with the how Fish and Game has responded to the incident.

"Just do something. Because when this happened to my husband they said they were going to survey the area. I have not seen Fish and Game since yesterday," Dudek said.

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