This is a still from a viral video that has been making the rounds on social media today. The video shows children in a suburban neighborhood feeding bread to adult bucks. Although people shared the video saying that it was beautiful and inspiring— and although the children certainly look happy— this is disturbing for a number of reasons.
Deer should be fearful of humans. This is important for their safety and for hours. Fearlessness of humans will lead deer into heavily populated areas, where they run the very real risk of being hit by cars, which is a frequent cause of death for both the deer and the motorist. Deer who are fearless around humans are also very easy targets for hunters.
The risk for the children is also serious. No parent in their right mind would send children into the street to feed coyotes, and an adult buck is at least as dangerous. Bucks are naturally territorial animals and are equipped with hard, sharp, powerful weapons. A healthy adult deer is also many times the size of these small children. If the animal got spooked, or simply wanted more food than he was offered, these children would be hospitalized or even killed by their injuries.
Deer are beautiful animals, but they need to be respected from a distance. If you see deer in your neighborhood, please watch from the window or porch. Don’t approach them, and certainly do not feed them.