There are certain things you don’t expect to see during a day at the beach, which is why beachgoers in Saugatuck, Michigan, were shocked to see an unusually calm deer hanging out near the edge of Lake Michigan. Kathleen Kennedy Ferris says she was enjoying her annual trip to Saugatuck Dunes State Park with her family when they caught sight of the deer.
Yes, we can imagine their surprise that what they thought was a household pet turned out to be a wild animal!
Despite the fact that the beach was pretty packed, the deer did not seem at all fazed. In fact, the buck remained around beachgoers for about 30 minutes. Photos and videos of the deer on the beach began to make the rounds on social media. Check out this one posted to YouTube by Katie Papke:
“This white-tailed buck came out of the adjacent sand dunes to enjoy time with beach patrons,” she wrote in the video’s description. “On July 6th, the deer hung around the Lake Michigan shore for over 30 minutes at Saugatuck State Park. He enjoyed licking a little girl’s legs and ruffling through another’s beach bag for snacks. Did the Fourth of July fireworks bring him out? Acclimated to humans or just naive?”
People were clearly captivated as they all snapped pictures and recorded the deer standing at the water’s edge. Although some people felt comfortable enough to approach and even pet the deer, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is warning the public to keep their distance.
“At this time, we plan to monitor the situation with the deer,” the DNR said in a statement. “Should it begin to exhibit aggressive behavior, we would consider immobilizing and relocating the deer. We ask that park visitors refrain from feeding or approaching the deer as this is a wild animal that could act unpredictably.”
Oh man. We think this little buck is adorable. Have you ever seen a deer this comfortable around people?
Deer typically run away from humans, or freeze in place (which this one clearly is not doing). White-tail deer are found from southern Canada to South America, according to National Geographic. These beautiful creatures are herbivores and enjoy eating grass, leaves, twigs, and fruits and nuts.
Maybe he wandered out of the woods and got lost, or maybe he just wanted to cool off in the heat. It was a hot day, after all.
Whatever the reason, we’re glad he showed up so we could see all the cool images!