A pronghorn antelope doe keeps watch as two fawns peer out from tall grass. 

June is the peak fawning and calving season for Idaho's deer, elk and antelope herds. With camping and the outdoors season well underway, well-meaning citizens often find baby animals that seem to be abandoned. Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking people to leave them alone. If a female deer returns to find people milling around their young they will often leave the area and come back when the people are gone. By then it is sometimes too late.

Unlike humans, white-tailed deer mothers do not spend much time with their fawns for the first few weeks after giving birth. Deer fawns are nearly scentless at birth; however the doe has scent. Mothers will keep their distance from their young to avoid leading predators to them.

"Our office gets several calls and folks bring baby animals to the office every year," says Clay Hickey, Fish and Game Regional Wildlife Manager. "Even though their intentions are good, it isn't the best thing for the animals."

"If people bring young animals into the office we only have a few options," Hickey said. "We can attempt to return them back into the wild, which seldom works because the animal is too young to survive on its own. There are seldom options at an approved zoo or research facility. Often the only humane option left for IDFG is to euthanize them. Either way the animal is generally removed from the wild forever."

It is illegal for people to be in possession of wild animals. State or federal laws protect most all wildlife. People found possessing a wild animal without a permit can be issued a citation and the animal will be removed from their control. Animals raised in confinement are often destroyed because of the possibility of disease and lack of ability to survive on their own.

Smaller animals like upland game birds, squirrels, rabbits, songbirds, ect. should also be left alone. Nature can be a tough place for all young animals and disturbance by people makes it even more difficult. It is always best just to leave them alone and let nature take its place. Their best chance for survival is with an adult animal in the wild.


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