Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources: Don’t disturb young wildlife
Folks often encounter young wildlife while spending time outdoors in spring, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources wants to remind people to leave the animals undisturbed.
“This is the time of year when white-tailed deer and other animals have their young,” Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said in a news release Thursday. “It’s best to leave them alone.”
Newborn fawns spend a lot of time bedded down until they’re about a month old and strong enough to follow their mothers. Jenkins said the mothers put them in a spot where they’ll be camouflaged from predators in the meantime, visiting the fawns to nurse but not straying far when they leave. When the mother leaves the fawn for a bit, it helps take predators’ attention away from the fawn,
“Momma didn’t abandon them,” Jenkins said. “She placed them there. She knows where they’re at, or is very close, and she will come back.”
In a situation where a fawn has been calling for its mother for several hours with no response, is clearly injured, or where the mother deer was seen being hit by a car, you can a wildlife rehabilitator. “We don’t want you to go pick it up and hold it or keep it,” Jenkins said. “They are wild animals.”
Wildlife rehabilitators are the only ones who can possess injured wildlife, according to the department. A searchable list of rehabilitators can be found here.
Rabbit nests are also common this time of year, and small game biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Ben Robinson said human intervention is often unnecessary when one is found. The department says putting a flag or a stake near the area can help mark the nest site for reference when mowing in the future.