The FAA said the crew aboard flight 5320, operated by PSA Airlines, reported striking the deer as it left Charlotte Douglas International Airport around 11:45 a.m. today.
The FAA said the plane landed safely at the Charlotte airport at 12:05 p.m. after declaring the emergency. The flight was headed to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Mississippi.
In a statement, American Airlines said the plane, a CRJ 700 aircraft, was carrying 44 passengers and four crew.
"The airplane came immediately back to the airport and landed safely. There was fuel leaking from the aircraft, so passengers deplaned on the runway and firetrucks did hose the plane down. The passengers have been bused back to the terminal and will get a new aircraft," American Airlines said in its statement.
In October 2010, a US Airways jet arriving from Miami, Florida, plowed through a herd of deer shortly after landing at the same Charlotte airport. No injuries were reported on the plane.
According to ABC affiliate WSOC-TV, today's incident occurred on runway 36 center -- the same runway where the herd of deer was struck in 2010.