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Bucks Gone Bad

March 29, 2013, 10:07 PM by Don Jorgensen

Bucks Gone Bad

There's a big herd of deer hanging around right in the heart of Sioux Falls.

On any given evening you can see forty or more deer near 41st and Minnesota at Tomar Park. While deer herding up in the winter is nothing unusual, the video attached to this story is. And you will see what happens when deer get mad.

We tend to picture deer like this: peacefully grazing along the banks of a river, keeping a watchful eye out for people and predators, running away at the first sign of danger.

But did you know that deer have a dark side? When bucks don't have antlers to fight with, they stand straight up on their hind legs and battle with razor sharp hooves.

"What they're trying to do is establish dominance or hierarchy in the herd. Things have changed over the winter time. Some animals that were dominant might have died, might have gotten hit by a car or shot in the hunt and so they need to be replaced, so the animals are working toward getting those things settled again," Game, Fish and Parks Wildlife Biologist Julie DeJong said.

DeJong says combat at this time of year doesn't last as long as antler fights in the fall and that's why you rarely get to see it.

"These battles are really quick in the spring time. Just a little fist fight there and then they'll get back to what they were doing," DeJong said.

And while brawls like this don't usually result in injuries, this one in the video does. And there's a dramatic end to this fist fight.    

But the deer that goes over the bleachers, walks away without a scratch. The buck that apparently won the battle loses the war and ends up limping away with an injured front leg. DeJong says she's surprised by the intensity of the clash.

 "I was, they were really going at each other there. It was an interesting fight," DeJong said.

 And while the whole bout lasts just 30 seconds, it provides a rare look at how deer really establish who is "king of the hill."

"Most people don't get to see something like that very often and you don't find a lot of pictures of that either on the internet, so it was exciting to see," DeJong said.

DeJong says does will also stand on their back legs and fight when provoked. If you want to see the herd at Tomar Park you'll have to act fast. The deer will be scattering back into the country side any day now as the temperatures warm up.

Click on the video player below to watch extended video of the deer fighting:

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