We get calls from concerned individuals all year long about deer who have unfortunately been injured. Whether they were hit by vehicles, or escaped a hunter or coyote, they are such large and graceful animals that it is difficult not to be disturbed by the sight of one limping or struggling. If the animal can still move about, even if it’s only on three legs, the best thing to do is leave it alone. If you really want to help, provide it a safe place to spend a few hours recuperating undisturbed by keeping the area free and clear of any kids and pets. Because deer suffer from capture myopia the risks involved in attempting to contain and rehabilitate an adult deer are very great and the chance of success is minimal.
Some things to note about deer as we move into the warm spring and summer months:
- The Department of Natural Resources has issued regulations for the feeding of animals, in particular, white-tailed deer. Even if you don’t agree, the reasons for the law were designed to ultimately help spare large portions of the population from contracting chronic wasting disease. For more information visit http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/bait.htm
- If you see a fawn sitting alone resist the urge to interfere. Mother deer will frequently leave their fawns for several hours at a time as they are not strong enough to keep up with her as she forages. Unless the baby is showing obvious signs of distress you can be certain that the mother will return, perhaps closer to dusk when she feels it is safe to do so.
Please watch for future posts regarding answers to questions about deer.