Good Samaritans: Don't try to do good with wild animals this season

INDIANAPOLIS - State officials want to remind you not to play the hero if you encounter wild animals that seem to need help this summer.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said this is the peak season for running into white-tailed deer fawns.

"If you come across one that appears to be abandoned, the best thing to do is leave it alone," DNR officials wrote.

The DNR said a mother deer frequently leaves its fawn during the day. It does this both to look for food, and to deter predators from finding the fawn, as fawns emit nearly no scent.

"People often mistake a fawn as abandoned when, in fact, it is being properly cared for by its mother," the DNR said.

Here are some tips if you encounter a fawn out in nature this season:

  • Give it distance. The mother will not return if you are around, which could delay nursing for a hungry fawn. Most often, the mother will return at night or when no predators are near by, and they do consider humans to be predators.
  • Leave it alone. Even if you think the animal is hurt, you should still leave it alone. The DNR said it's best to let nature take its course. "Wild animals are not pets. They may carry diseases and are not suited for captivity," the DNR said.
  • If you feel the need to step in, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator - don't try to take it home with you. Here's a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators. 
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