ODFW Reminds Public To Leave Deer And Elk Young Alone

May 28, 2021

Memorial Day marks the start of deer and elk birthing season. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to remind people to leave the young animals alone. 


Twin mule deer fawns in Sunriver.
Credit Greg Yamada / Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife


According to ODFW spokesperson Michelle Dennehy, well-meaning people bring these animals home every year.

“We see people that keep these animals in captivity. The animal gets bigger, a lot bigger,” said Dennehy. “They lose their natural wariness of people and they go on to become dangerous.”

While a fawn or calf might be alone, it’s not necessarily orphaned.

“Their mothers actually hide them in brush and then will leave and go forage. And then come back to them when they’re ready.”

Which might be over a day later. They might also stay away because of your presence. 

The guidance is to leave them alone and keep your pets away. And if concerned, call wildlife professionals. 

Dennehy adds that unnecessarily taking an animal out of the wild stresses the resources of the wildlife rehabilitation system.

“It’s also against the law,” Dennehy said.