A man has died and a woman has been seriously injured after they were attacked by a deer they'd kept as a pet on their property in north-east Victoria.
Paul McDonald, 47, was feeding the deer at his property in Moyhu, near Wangaratta, about 8.20am on Wednesday when the animal attacked, his brother told Nine News.
Mr McDonald's wife, Mandi, rushed to help her husband but was also attacked by the deer.
The couple's son dragged his mother away from the family pet, which the couple had owned for about six year, before it was shot dead by Mr McDonald's brother.
Mr McDonald died from his injuries shortly after the attack.
Paramedics were called to the property just before 8.30am.
Ambulance Victoria said Ms McDonald was treated for upper body and leg injuries and was flown to The Alfred hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Moyhu is a small, close-knit community and one woman contacted by The Age said she was too close to the McDonald family to comment on Wednesday.
Autumn is mating, or rutting, season for many species of deer, and is a particularly dangerous time to be around the wild animals.
"An animal that would be otherwise docile for 10 months in the year, is an animal you really don't want to be around for two months," said Barry Howlett from the Australian Deer Association.
Stags and bucks grow sharp antlers and, filled with testosterone, aggressively fight with each other and other animals, including cows.
Mr Howlett said that deers can become a danger to humans in domesticated scenarios.
"It's not an everyday occurrence, but it's not unheard of for deer to kill people in that situation," he said.
"Deers stop eating, they shed a huge percentage of their body weight. They stop doing everything except for finding a female partner and become extremely aggressive," Mr Howlett said.