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Buck attacks Moira man

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
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MOIRA — For a few terrifying minutes, a Moira man became prey for a disgruntled buck.


An attack by a 10-point buck Friday sent Gerald A. Dabiew, 56, to the emergency room, covered from head to toe with cuts and bruises. Mr. Dabiew — who doesn't even hunt — was attacked for several minutes by the buck behind his house on Best Road.


"It seemed like hours," Mr. Dabiew said.


He was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital, but still was sore Monday, covered in bruises and scratches but with no broken bones.


His home is isolated and surrounded by woods, and Mr. Dabiew said he has seen deer in the area, but none has come close to him. So on Friday, as he was loading wood into a bucket behind his house, he didn't think twice as he spotted the buck across the road, watching it as he finished his work.


"He stepped on the road, he looked at me, and the next thing I know, he was coming right at me," he said. "He got me down on the ground, and it was then I knew that he really wanted to kill me."


For several minutes, Mr. Dabiew fought the buck, which tried to flip him over several times as he wrapped his legs around the animal's neck and held on to its antlers.


The buck kept him pinned and pounded him into the ground, holding him there so he couldn't move. When Mr. Dabiew tried to wrestle himself loose, the buck would ram him again, he said.


"But I wasn't letting go of him," he said.


The buck injured Mr. Dabiew's hand and body with its antlers, although the antlers didn't puncture his body, and kicked him on the jaw.


"I've got bruises from head to toe," he said. "He picked me up in the air and pounded me into the ground."


During the ordeal, Mr. Dabiew, who was home alone, said he hollered for help until his throat went dry as he continued to battle the animal. Without the adrenaline pulsing through his veins, he said, he never would have lasted as long as he did. Even then, by the end of the fight his arms had lost all their strength.


The buck tried one last time to turn him over, but Mr. Dabiew, who describes himself as "a good-sized guy," broke loose and managed eventually to kick the animal, causing it to back off and run away.


"I don't know why he came around. All I was doing was throwing wood," he said. "I'm not even a hunter."


Mr. Dabiew said the sound of the wood hitting his bucket could have sounded like deer antlers being hit together, a strategy hunters often use to lure deer.


No matter what the cause, deer attacks are uncommon, but not unheard of.


"This is breeding season for whitetails, and they get pretty aggressive, usually with other bucks," said wildlife biologist Ed Reed of the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 office. "They have been known to attack people. If he sees something moving, he feels like it's somebody encroaching on his territory."


In fact, people are more likely to be attacked by a deer than a bear, which more people fear but which attack extremely rarely.


Mr. Reed said people should not be concerned for their safety in light of Friday's attack against Mr. Dabiew. He said Mr. Dabiew's theory about why the buck attacked could be correct, as the sound of wood hitting a bucket would have simulated the "sound of bucks fighting."


Mr. Dabiew said he certainly didn't consider deer to be dangerous animals — until Friday.


"It changed my way of thinking," he said. "I took an awful pounding; I know that."

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