Thursday, May 11, 2006


I received this letter from the NH Fish and Game Department via the Internet yesterday. As is sometimes the case, I feel to repeat the entire article is the best way to distribute this information. This letter addresses young animals and the fact that we need to resist the urge to help by taking them home and caring for them. Almost invariably there is a mother watching with fear in her heart. So, "Leave those babies ALONE"!

CONCORD, N.H. -- With springtime wildlife young now on the scene, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has issued a reminder that you should NOT pick up any animals you may find, especially fawns (newborn deer) or moose calves.

"Remember -- the best chance a young wild animal or bird has to survive is with its parents," says Fish and Game Wildlife Programs Administrator Mark Ellingwood. "Give fawns, moose calves and other young animals plenty of space and leave them alone and in the woods, where they belong."

Late May through June is the time of year when people are apt to see deer fawns by themselves. Seeing a fawn alone does NOT mean that it is orphaned or that it needs human help. It is normal for a doe to leave her fawn alone while she goes off to feed, typically in the early morning and evening hours. In many cases, the doe will not return until nightfall.

Ellingwood notes that fawns are not defenseless creatures. Their cryptic coloration, tendency to stay perfectly still and lack of scent are all adaptations that help boost survival. The absence of a doe at the bedding site of fawns enhances fawn survival as well. Does are easy to detect because of their size and scent; predators would quickly key in on does in order to find fawns, if the two associated with one another constantly. "Well intentioned but misguided people who apply human behaviors and attributes to wild animals often literally love our wildlife to death," said Ellingwood.

If you're lucky enough to see a fawn, count your blessings and leave the area, he advises. Your continued presence or frequent visits will only contribute to the likelihood of the fawn being abandoned or found by a predator. Unless you can verify that a fawn's mother is dead -- please leave it alone. Resist the temptation to continually check on the animal; doing so only serves to further separate it from the doe. If you have questions, call your local Fish and Game office before taking any action.

Moose calves should also be left alone and given plenty of space, for all the reasons explained above. What's more, cow moose may aggressively defend a calf and can prove dangerous.

Note that it is ILLEGAL to have in your possession or take any New Hampshire wildlife from the wild and keep it in captivity. Only qualified people with a special rehabilitator's permit, issued through Fish and Game headquarters, may possess any wild animal.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit

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Copyright 2006 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive,
Concord, NH 03301


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