FWP: “They’re sure cute, but please leave young animals alone”

Posted at 2:00 PM, Jul 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-04 16:00:00-04

Each spring and summer, FWP receives several calls from people who have picked up deer fawns or other wildlife.

It’s important to remember that Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks no longer accepts, holds or rehabilitates deer, moose and elk. Diseases (like Chronic Wasting Disease) are a concern when moving deer and elk, and raising fawns and calves is often unsuccessful.

All wildlife species and their young should be left in the wild. If you see a young animal, whether a goose or a grizzly, keep your distance and leave it alone. Handling young animals can be dangerous. Often, once young animals are picked up and moved by humans, they can’t be rehabilitated.

What can you do?

Leave it there. It’s natural for deer and elk to leave their young alone for extended periods of time. What appears to be an orphaned animal may not be.

Control your dog. Keep your dog under control, especially in the spring when newborn wildlife is most vulnerable. Pet owners can be cited and dogs that harass or kill wildlife may by law have to be destroyed.

Keep in mind it is illegal to possess and care for a live animal taken from the wild.

As a wildlife agency, our priority is to keep wild animals wild. When people keep and raise elk, deer or other animals, it habituates wildlife to humans, potentially causing problems once released back into the wild.

Should someone bring a deer or elk to FWP, they’ll be asked to take the animal back to the site where it was found. If the animal can’t be returned, it will be humanely euthanized.

Ron Aasheim, FWP spokesman said, "If you care, leave them there. It is the best way to ensure that young wildlife is raised as nature intended, in the wild." 

To learn more about living with Montana’s wildlife, visit FWP online at "Living With Wildlife."