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Perham boy attacked by buck in his yard

Family had just moved to Otter Tail County.

Simon Runyan(left) and Eli Runyan(right) had a scary run-in with a deer at their new home near Perham, Minnesota. Andrew Nelson / WDAY

Two brothers from rural Perham say they were outside in their yard when a buck attacked them, leaving one with punctures, scrapes and bruises.

Eli Runyan, 12, and Simon Runyan, 10, had just finished splitting some wood outside on Nov. 4 when they say a deer walked up to them.

"We were right up there and he came around the corner and he was really quiet, we didn't hear a thing," said Simon Runyan. "We started to back away and it coming forward slowly. It looked at me and then him and then charged him."

The young, aggressive buck attacked Eli Runyan, scraping its antlers across his chest and stomach and knocking the boy to the ground.


"It hit him and knocked him down, he put his legs up so it wouldn't hit him," Simon Runyan said.

"I was on the ground with my legs up so my brother yelled for my dad and it took him a second to realize I was under the buck," Eli Runyan said.

"The back of Eli's leg has two or three puncture wounds and his back is black and blue from the deer ramming his legs," said the boys' mother, Hilary Runyan. "To hear him scream and yell, I have never heard before. It got louder as he ran toward the house."

Eli Runyan shows the injury to his body left when the deer kocked him to the ground with its antlers. Submitted photo.

Puncture marks and bruises on Eli Runyan's leg. His legs to the brunt of the attack as he was lying on the ground. Submitted photo.

The boys' father heard the commotion, whipped out his 9mm handgun and shot the deer. It hasn't been found since the incident.


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers did come to investigate the incident and they awarded Eli Runyan with an honorary DNR badge.

A DNR report said DNR Officer Christopher Vinton went to the home at 49928 428th St., west of Perham on Nov. 5. Vinton searched where the deer had run off and found several spots of blood. He was assisted in his search by Greg Oldakowski for several hundred yards before all sign of the deer was lost.

In the report, Vinton said that in his nearly 23 years as a conservation officer he has never had anything like this happen before. With the go-ahead from Eil’s parents, he connected members of the media to share what had happened. “My goal was to make this special for him in the hopes that he would not fear the outdoors,” he said.

The family had just moved to the home near Perham days ago from the Fargo-Moorhead area.

"We came to be in the wilderness and be rural and have space and let the boys do what they are doing, but I am grateful Jesus was watching out for him," Hilary Runyan said.

RosaLin Alcoser contributed to this report.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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