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'Absolute Tragedy': Father Killed, Wife Fighting For Life After Deer Attack

A father has died and his wife is fighting for life after they were attacked by their pet deer in north-east Victoria.

Paul McDonald, 46, was feeding the male crossbreed, called a 'wappo', inside an enclosure on their rural property at Moyhu, south of Wangaratta, when it attacked him on Wednesday morning, police said.

Hearing the commotion, his wife Mandi, 45, rushed out to help, but was also set upon by the stag.

A local paramedic, who was commencing duty nearby, tried to save Paul but he died at the scene.

Mandi was airlifted to a hospital in Melbourne with life-threatening injuries and remains in a critical condition.

"This is an absolute tragedy," Acting Senior Sergeant Paul Pursell told reporters.

"The family is devastated ... it's beyond words how they have been affected by this incident."

Mandi and Paul McDonald. Image: Supplied

Police euthanised the deer due to concerns for the paramedic's safety, who arrived at the scene about 8:30am.  

Pursell said the couple is well-known by the small-knit community of Moyhu and had the deer for about two years.

"As far as the reason why they kept it, we're not too sure," Pursell said.

The couple had the deer for about two years. Image: Supplied

"These are wild animals -- whether they are out in the wild or kept as pets -- and their behaviour can be unpredictable. People need to weigh up whether it's worth the risk keeping these sorts of animals."

Other family members have taken the couple's son and daughter to visit their mother in hospital.

Pursell said family in Melbourne would look after them "at this point in time".

Featured image: Supplied