A buck at the beach created a stir Sunday at Folly Beach.

“Huge antlers. It was a big deer,” said Lauren Wengerd, a graduate student at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The deer was seen swimming in the ocean at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission's Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Fishing Pier.

Wengerd said she and friends were enjoying an appetizer and drink on the patio at Tides hotel in early afternoon when the deer drama unfolded. “Some guy yelled, 'There's a deer in the ocean!' ” she said

The animal, which was particularly out of place in the commercial heart of the island, swam out past the end of the pier.

Two paddleboarders tried to herd the deer back to shore, but it sank. “It was like it was struggling. It was really sad. It was just one of those things that was so strange,” she said.

She speculated that the deer was hit by a car, or something startled it.

Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said more and more deer are showing up on the island.

“We have a good many deer seen at night,” he said.

Deer recently were spotted on Center Street between Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church and Fred Holland Realty. Some residents have reported deer grazing on their flowers, he said.

Goodwin speculated that the deer are drawn to undeveloped wooded lots on the island, where food is plentiful. “Nobody here messes with them,” he said.

Hundreds of deer vs. vehicle collisions are reported annually in South Carolina.

In mid-November, a deer ran into the path of a plane that was landing at the Greenwood County Airport, causing the aircraft to catch fire. The pilot and passengers were uninjured.

On Dec. 6, a man snapped a photo of a buck swimming more than a 1,000 yards offshore in Lake Erie near Cleveland. A beachgoer at the Grand Strand in May took a picture of a deer in the surf. In Laguna Beach, Calif., a deer ran into the ocean and drowned after barreling through downtown in August of 2010.

Unfortunately, the deer off the pier at Folly also drowned.