Why Do Female Deer Fight?

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Although doe fight encounters are not that common, various hunters and researchers have reported sightings of such scenarios, so why do female deer fight? Unlike bucks, whose reason for conflict involves spouses and territories, a female fight for food and its fawn’s well-being. Since they do not feature antlers, their fighting approach is not the typical head-on technique.

Bucks tend to have a more brutal characteristic and resolve their differences in a physical fight more often than not. On the other hand, a doe is not one known to opt for fighting, and their conflicts are mostly settled with body language. In this article, we will look at why a female deer fights and how it does.

Most Common Reasons Why Female Deer Fight

Preserve a Domain with Food

Deer’s, in their general characteristics, is not one to be termed as territorial. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. This saying applies to a doe when it finds itself in an environment where the food supply is limited and will not support the entire population.

From this situation, the doe decides to chase away other inhabitants of the region to ensure its survival. Most of the other animals may not take it kindly to being chased, and violence is the last resort for settling the argument. More prominent females are most likely to win most of the encounters and hence keep the land.

Maintaining the Peck Order

Similar to humans, deer do live in social groupings, which comprises titles depending on your social status. The older a doe gets, the higher it climbs in the hierarchy and gains respect from the others. A high-status deer to ascertain its command will take deep hard stares to its lesser counterparts, and their response will determine if or not the fight will happen.

In case the lesser one wishes to climb up its ranks, then reciprocating the cold stare would be an excellent way to start. Any instance where the two interlock their gazes, a physical fight is bound to occur.

How Do Female Deer Fight?

Unlike the males, the females’ lack of antlers has dramatically influenced the degree of technique difference. The buck will tend to attack each other with their long and challenging antlers, whereas the doe will have to use its front limbs as weapons. By standing with their hind legs, their upper body takes on a raised stance as it throws to its opponent’s kicks and slaps.

Before all the slapping and kicking, the two animals first pass on body language and signs understood by both. It is after severe threats and signals that the two finally resolve to use physical means. Direct staring at them will mean that they are both ready for a fight. However, if one during the stares and body signals, one of the two avoids eye contact, it is taken as a submission sign.

Interpreting and Responding to Aggressive Deer Expressions

What Do You Do When a Deer Stares at You?

When out in the wild, you may find yourself in confrontation with a deer. It gives you a piercing eye contact, which often scares most hunters into reacting sharply. 

The first recommendation I would give in such a scenario is to keep your cool. Sudden movements may spook the deer into harming you.

Also, try not to reciprocate the direct stare; looking on the ground is an excellent approach to keeping you safe. A direct gaze might lead the deer to think of you as an immediate target and deal with you accordingly. After a few minutes of remaining still, the deer will continue with its activity or slowly walk away.

Note that an antlered one is more dangerous than one without. However, do not try and test what a doe will do by standing with their hind legs protecting its fawn as they are vicious. Just like humans, mothers will go to great extents without much hesitance to protect their young ones.

What does it Mean When a Deer Stomps its Foot?

For one, I have never observed a deer stomp its foot in all my years of deer encounters. However, at the range, I have heard of stories of such tales from several shooters. Once the deer senses danger looming, it may find it best to stomp its front limbs to alert others nearby. According to researchers, its body functioning allows for any nearby partner to receive the message.

Also, expected to does with fawns, it may stomp its foot to lure the target its way. This approach is the final and most effective measure of protecting its young ones, as it draws most of the attention to itself rather than its young ones. 

The mature doe is potent and strong enough to compete with the predators.

Do Deer Recognize Human Faces?

After several encounters with a particular deer, it can take note of your facial appearance and scent and classify you as a threat or not. However, its observance is not enough to claim that it will recognize you every time you meet. 

Your scent is one thing you can count on the deer to keep. Like a dog, the deer family finds great use in their noses and can spot a scent meters away and identify it. You should therefore equip yourself with tips on how to keep deer from smelling you.


Being that you have never seen two female deer in a physical confrontation does not mean that it is non-existent. Numerous researchers have set up cameras and have footage of more than one fight. The reason for such entanglements is unclear at the moment, but all evidence seems to point to the food and survival of its young ones.

If a female can damage its gender counterpart, imagine what it would do to you when you cross paths. However, deer are not known to attack humans, except when they feel threatened. Their initial instinct is to first observe before making a move.

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