That Deer’s not Orphaned, so Just Leave it Alone

Deer fawn  photo by Todd Schneider GaDNRIt’s the time of year when state wildlife agencies start sending out press releases about “orphaned” fawns and wildlife as reminders to leave them alone.

It’s not a bad idea to do that, either. Too many folks with the bleeding-heart Disney Bambi Complex think they need to “save” everything cute and furry, including white-tailed deer fawns. In their minds, “Mama has abandoned them” and by golly, that little helpless wild animal needs the citified care of a human.

Leave ’em alone.

Many of us have heard of hunters or country folk finding a fawn and taking it home. It becomes a pet of sorts: coming to the bang of a bell for a bottle, orange or neon collar, maybe it’s even been given a name and is babied. Yes, those things happen. We’ve seen it with raccoons and other wildlife, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

Georgia’s DNR sent out a press release this week about not “rescuing” fawns or other wildlife.

“Young wildlife taken into captivity can lose their natural instincts and ability to survive in the wild,” John Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division chief of game management, said in the release.  “In most instances, there is an adult animal a short distance away. This separation of adult and young animals provides a critical survival mechanism by helping minimize predation on young wildlife.”

Many states require a permit to possess wildlife and game animals and, usually, only licensed rehab facilities or persons can get those permits. They handle injured wildlife and birds, often when a state agency gets a call from someone, and work to rehab it for release or maybe placement in a facility if rehab isn’t successful.

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