OKLAHOMA CITY – While spring weather is transitioning into summer, game wardens say they are struggling to keep up with the number of young animals being brought in by well-meaning citizens.
The Oklahoma State Department of Wildlife Conservation says that although these cute creatures may appear to be lost or abandoned, that is rarely the case.
“Chances are an adult animal is nearby and is simply waiting on you to move away so they can take care of their young,” said Mark Howery, natural resource biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
In most cases, you should not interfere with young wildlife.
In Oklahoma, most fawns are born in May and June, which is when you will likely see the young animals.
Game wardens say they are receiving a lot of calls from the public about rescuing fawns found near a home.
Officials say a doe will often leave a fawn in a safe place, like near a house where people can easily see them, because those are places where predators might be less likely to visit.
Also, the doe will stay away from its fawn so its scent doesn’t draw predators to the fawn. However, the doe will normally return several times during the day to nurse its fawn.
Game wardens say they are being overrun by people who are seeing young fawns and bringing them to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.
“Right now, they’re overrun with fawn deer that are being brought in at a record pace,” said McCurtain County Game Warden Mark Hannah. “Please do not pick up fawns.”
Storms can easily blow young birds and squirrels from their nests, but a mature animal will often find them and take care of them.
Game wardens say it can actually do more harm for humans to intervene. The animals will lose their instinctual fear of humans and end up depending on people to survive. If returned, they will have no idea how to feed or what dangers to avoid. The young animal could even die from the stress of being handled.