CRIVITZ, Wis. — A woman in northeast Wisconsin has videotaped a bald eagle killing a deer fawn swimming in a lake.

Julie Smith, 63, caught the incident on camera June 30 at her vacation home on Lake Noquebay near Crivitz, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported .

“One of my favorite things to do is get up before dawn and watch the new day arrive,” Smith said. “So much interesting wildlife activity happens early in the day.”

The retired special education teacher said she began filming the moment because although deer sightings are common in the area, seeing a deer in the water is unusual.

“At first I thought it could be a Canada goose, but something was different,” Smith said. “Then I could tell. It was a fawn.”

The video shows a deer fawn in the water near the shore. Suddenly, a bald eagle swoops in and strikes the fawn. It latches onto the young deer’s back and eventually pushes it underwater.

“It was nature happening right in front of me,” Smith said. “I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. I was quite amazed by it, actually.”

The eagle eventually dragged the fawn’s body onto the shore.

“The big bird was looking around the whole time,” Smith said. “I think it wanted to make sure nothing was going to try to steal the deer.”

Smith left the fawn carcass untouched, and the eagle returned to it to feed for the next three days.

Predators such as eagles occasionally attempt to kill prey that might be too big for them, said Bill Volkert, a retired Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources naturalist and bird expert.

The department released a study in 2012 that found one occasion of a bald eagle attacking a fawn. The three-year study found that coyotes were most likely to prey on fawns.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.