YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — When visitors to Yosemite National Park are warned to be wary of the animals, most think immediately of bears or snakes.
But park rangers are referring specifically to deer when they tell visitors to keep their distance from the wildlife.
"All too often, visitors arrive in the park with a 'Bambi syndrome'--the perception that deer are gentle little creatures wanting love and affection," said Paul Anderson, a Yosemite district ranger.
"In reality, deer are wild, unpredictable animals that are capable of inflicting serious injury or death," he said.
Last fall, three park visitors were reported injured in incidents involving deer, and Anderson believes there were probably at least a dozen more incidents involving deer that were not reported because the injuries were not serious.
On Dec. 5, a park employee out on a stroll was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a deer.
The employee said she was walking along a road when a young buck approached, reared up on its hind legs and hit her with its hoofs. The woman was wearing a heavy coat and turned her back, so she was not seriously injured.