State game wardens advise Oklahomans to not pick up young deer

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Game Wardens are asking people across the state to not pick up fawns that appear to be abandoned because doing so could endanger the fawn.

“Every year, across the state, hundreds of deer fawns are picked up by citizens with good intentions. However, not only is this practice illegal, it’s very detrimental to the survival of the fawns,” Oklahoma Game Wardens stated in a public notice.

A fawn that is found by itself, unaccompanied by its mother, is usually not in danger and not a cause for concern on the part of community members, according to

A healthy fawn spotted during the day has most likely not been abandoned and is not in need of being rescued.

Starting at birth, a fawn is left alone throughout most of the day while its mother is off feeding. The mother deer does this to reduce the chance of attracting a predator to the fawn. The mother typically returns only at dusk and dawn to move and feed her fawn, according to the Wildlife Center.

“Don’t be a fawn kidnapper,” Ed Clark, President of the Wildlife Center, said. “In most cases, a fawn found alone has not been abandoned and is not helpless – it’s a young animal still receiving care from its mother. Despite our well-meaning intentions, the best chance for survival of a fawn is to leave it in its mother’s care.”

The Wildlife Center advises community members that if they find a fawn that is not injured – bleeding, broken bones, wounds, caught on a fence, hit by a car, etc. – to leave the uninjured fawn where it is.

“Never expect to see the mother come back to the fawn while you are in the area. Check back on the fawn in 24 to 48 hours. The mother should have moved the fawn,” the website states.

If the fawn is injured or the fawn’s mother is known to be dead, community members are advised to call the Wildlife Center by dialing 540-942-9453, or contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for help.

“Do not attempt to feed the fawn or give it fluids, especially cow’s milk, unless instructed to do so by a qualified individual,” the website states.

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