Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

NH: Leave Young Animals Alone — Keep Wildlife Wild

CONCORD, N.H. – With the early spring weather, people are
getting outside more, and some are observing young animals. If you
encounter wildlife, even young animals that appear to need help,
please remember that the kindest — and safest — thing to do is to
leave them alone and let nature take its course, say officials from
the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

Reports have already begun coming in to Fish and Game and local
wildlife rehabilitators from people who have picked up young
animals, often mistakenly thinking they are orphans. “Picking up
fawns, baby raccoons or young animals is an error in judgment,”
says Fish and Game Lt. Robert Bryant. “People think they’re doing a
good deed, but they are often removing the animal from the care of
its parents and exposing themselves to the risk of disease. What’s
more, these actions may result in the animal having to be
euthanized for rabies testing.”

Young wild animals (including mammals, birds, reptiles and
amphibians) typically have their best chance of surviving when they
are in their own natural environment, says Fish and Game Wildlife
Biologist Kent Gustafson. What should you do if you find a young
animal? “Give wildlife plenty of space and leave them alone and in
the wild, where they belong,” he said.

Gustafson explains that seeing a deer fawn alone, for example,
does NOT mean that it is orphaned or that it needs your help; it is
normal for a doe to leave her fawn alone while she goes off to feed
in the early morning and evening hours. In many cases, the doe will
not return until nightfall. “Fawns are not defenseless creatures.
Their cryptic coloration, tendency to stay perfectly still and lack
of scent are all adaptations that help them survive,” Gustafson
said. Does are easy to detect because of their size and scent, so
they generally keep a distance from their fawns, except during
brief nursing bouts, so that predators don’t key in on them. If
sympathetic people repeatedly visit a fawn, it only serves to
prolong the separation from the doe and delay important

“This hands-off policy also applies to bear cubs and moose
calves,” Gustafson continued. “It’s also worth noting that sows and
cows can and do actively protect their young. In any case, if
you’re lucky enough to see a deer fawn, bear cub, moose calf or
other wild animal, count your blessings and leave the area.”

Only qualified people with special rehabilitator permits, issued
through N.H. Fish and Game, may take in and care for injured or
orphaned wildlife. Improper care of injured or orphaned wildlife
often leads to their sickness or death. Unless you have
rehabilitator credentials, it is illegal to have in your possession
or take New Hampshire wildlife from the wild and keep it in
captivity. For a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, go to

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of
the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.


Share on Social


Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles