Taking care of deer fawns

Wednesday, June 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Better weather brings out more people, hiking, fishing and camping. Sometimes folks will come across baby deer who appear to be abandoned, but really are not.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells talked to a Creek County couple who says it's better to resist the urge to save Bambi.

"We get lots of Bambi's." 8 to 12 a year, says Terry Bradley, he's a licensed animal rehabilitator. Right now he and his wife are caring for four fawns that were separated from their mothers. "This one with the blue collar I call piglet cause it is non stop, it just eats and eats and eats." Sometimes the mother may be killed or injured along a roadway, the fawn needs care and the Bradley's provide it.

Too many times it's well-meaning humans, who see the fawn and not the mother. "They look around, they don't see a mother, or something sitting around, this thing's helpless, and it’s abandoned." So they pick it up and take it home, or to a vet, when in reality the mother was nearby all along. His suggestion, mark the spot leave and come back later if the fawn is still there or seems to be injured, intervene then. "We take in all kinds of animals we've had baby possums, we've had skunks, raccoons, foxes, bobcat kittens."

He walked me back to some pens about fifty yards from the house for a little illustration. These fawns with their mother are the same age as the one's being bottle-fed. They are larger, more active, and just healthier. "The best possible chance these guys have is with their mother."

Ironically, both mothers were bottle fed here, perhaps instinctively know this was a safe haven, anyway both does and fawn will be back in the wild in a few days.

The moral of the story, wild animal babies, no matter what, are better off in the wild with their mamas.