May 24, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 21

Fish and Game cautions not to pick up deer fawns

With spring upon us, and the weather slowly improving, more and more people will be heading outdoors to recreate. Undoubtedly, some people will come across baby animals that may appear to have been abandoned. Fish and Game would like to remind people that Alaska law prohibits the taking or holding of live animals (including birds) without a permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Late-May and early June is typically when deer give birth to fawns. Female deer do not always stay close to their fawns, particularly when humans approach. A fawn without its mother in its immediate area is not necessarily abandoned or lost. The likelihood is that the mother is watching from a distance. A female deer will often leave her fawn in what she thinks is a safe place while she feeds nearby. The doe may be gone for several hours. Sometimes the fawn will stand up and move around. Do not attempt to capture or handle these fawns. If left alone, the fawn and mother will be reunited. If picked up, however, the chances become slim that they will ever be reunited.

Facilities for keeping wild animals in captivity are limited. Often, a home cannot be found for a young animal that was “rescued” from the wild, and the animal must be euthanized.

If you find a young animal you think has been abandoned, please leave the animal where it is and contact the nearest Fish and Game office. In Petersburg, Fish and Game can be reached at 772-3801. In Wrangell, Fish and Game can be reached at 874-3822.

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