The problem with rescuing fawns is that most of the time the doe is probably nearby and the fawn does not need rescuing, said Sgt. Len Butler of the Conservation Officer Services in Williams Lake.
“It’s that typical time of year when people are picking up fawns thinking the mother is not around,” Butler told the Tribune Tuesday.
In a number of cases the COS is telling people to take the fawn back where they found it because the doe will most likely be off feeding somewhere and will return to the fawn.
“That’s their defence mechanism,” Butler said. The fawns do not have an odour so the doe will usually hide the fawn in an area.
“A lot of times when we tell people to take the fawn back where they found it, mom will come out of the bush. We’re not making this up, we’ve been doing this for a lot of years.”
Unless people see a doe hit on the road and a fawn close by, then the fawn should be left alone, Butler insisted.
“People need to take some time, review the situation, and leave the fawn there. I know it’s a Good Samaritan thing we think we’re doing, but the reality is mom is probably not that far away.”
He said the same goes for birds and water fowl people are finding and bringing in.
“It’s better for nature to take its course,” he said.
Tammy Zacharias runs the Second Chance Wildlife Shelter in Quesnel and said fawns are easy to capture.
“When you run after them, they’ll lie down. They’re funny like that. It’s like goats when you scare them and they fall over.”
Presently she has four fawns in the shelter and all of them were taken with no moms dead.
“One had a hurt shoulder. Some people found it in the middle of the road, so we picked that one up.”
Zacharias said fawns are sketchy when taken into a shelter and the biggest challenge is feeding them.
“We try to use baby bottles but a deer nipple isn’t that big. It’s a fight to feed them at the beginning. It’s horrible on them because we almost have to force feed them.”
Because she’s on her fourth year caring for fawns, she waits until they’re hungry enough and have calmed down enough that they are willing to eat.
When people bring in a fawn she will ask where and why they picked it up.
Often she will tell people to return fawns back to the place where they were taken because the mom will take them back.
“Sometimes people will freak out, so then we do that without them knowing. We’ve taken them out two days later and the mom has come back for them. It’s amazing.”
Even if the fawn has been touched by humans, the doe will take it back, she assured.
“I think they told us back in the day that the mom wouldn’t take the fawn back just so we wouldn’t touch them.”
Zacharias took in seven fawns in 2012 and 13 in 2011 because they received several from the Kamloops Wildlife Park.
“It’s been quite the last couple of crazy years,” she said.
The four she has now are an “average” number, although the shelter has put down two this year because they were hit by a vehicle or run into fence before they were brought in.
Normally fawns are pretty hearty and they’ve only lost one in five years, Zacharias said.
The ones in the shelter will stay until March and then will be released into the wild.
When it comes to moose calves, the same holds, said Julie Steciw, wildlife biologist with Natural Resource Operations in Williams Lake.
“They should also be left alone too, unless a dead mother is nearby.”
It is unlawful to pick fawns up, but if there are circumstances warranting a rescue, then people should call the RAPP line – 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).
“They will be referred to a shelter,” Butler said.