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A white tail deer, like these animals, apparently killed a New Brunswick farmer. (CBC)

A deer farmer in New Brunswick has apparently been killed by an animal in his herd, police say.

The 55-year-old man was found with multiple antler wounds Sunday evening inside his enclosed field in Saint-Léonard, near the Quebec border.

The victim's wife phoned police Sunday afternoon after he went out to feed the deer and never returned, RCMP Sgt. Marc Violette said.

Officers discovered the man's body in the field at about 8 p.m. Sunday. His body had numerous piercings that appear to have been caused by deer antlers, Violette said.

Deer have the capacity to inflict severe damage, he said.

"They would do this to small prey in the wild. They would do it, maybe, to small foxes or to small coyotes that were attacking them," Violette said.

"They put all their weight on the antlers and, for lack of a better term, they try to suffocate the prey with their antlers. They push hard on the antlers and the antlers will pierce flesh, and pierce body tissue."

Violette said the deer might have attacked the man because this is the time of year when they normally compete against other bucks to mate with does.

"This being the rutting season, male deer are competing for female deer at this time of the year and they will fight against each other in the wild," he said. "So what I can surmise in this case is the male deer detected the owner as being a threat."

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.