A buck was euthanized and a fawn will spend its life in captivity. Here’s why.

·2 min read

“Leave wildlife wild,” says the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.

After several photos and videos surfaced of residents keeping local deer as pets, the Wildlife Resources Division issued a warning to keep humans and deer safe.

Sure, most people love seeing fawns and other deer in close proximity, there can be huge disadvantages to feeding wild deer. Feeding wild deer is legal and okay to do regularly (as long as they are not caged/chained in any way), but it is not ideal for the animal in the long run.

“While it seems ‘harmless’ to feed and interact with deer fawns, you are doing a disservice to the animal and to your community. These young deer will grow up and mature, and a testosterone-filled buck or an adult doe that is unafraid of people is not ‘harmless,’ it is dangerous and can inflict serious injury,” said Melissa Cummings with the Wildlife Resources Division.

Another disservice to deer: leashing them.

Residents called into East Cobb County DNR after seeing this young buck leashed and inside a fence.
Residents called into East Cobb County DNR after seeing this young buck leashed and inside a fence.

A resident called in to East Cobb County DNR after seeing a young buck on a leash. It was eventually released.

”DNR hoped that would be the end of it, but this buck was later seen and called in from the Roswell Boardwalk, where it was approaching people and attempting to ‘herd’ people,” Cummings said.

This “herding” can be seen in the video below.

“This situation is extremely dangerous, particularly when the habituated deer is a buck and it’s in rut. Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Urban Wildlife Program staff were able to find the buck and humanely euthanize it. There are very few alternatives to this outcome other than humane euthanasia,” Cummings said.

Additionally, it is illegal to cage deer and keep them as pets. This is a misdemeanor in Georgia with a fine up to $1000 and a maximum of one year in jail.

Fawn was mistakenly picked up after residents thought it was orphaned. It was then caged.
Fawn was mistakenly picked up after residents thought it was orphaned. It was then caged.
This fawn was thought to be orphaned; residents later put it in a crate.
This fawn was thought to be orphaned; residents later put it in a crate.

According to the Georgia DNR, these fawns were picked up by residents who thought they were left behind or orphaned; Georgia DNR strongly discourages this.

After being picked up, these fawns were not taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, which only made the situation worse.

“One of these fawns wasn’t rehabilitated properly and later died. The other will now spend its life in captivity because it associated people with food from not being rehabilitated properly,” Cummings said.

Cummings and others at the Wildlife Division strongly encourage residents to call the Ranger Hotline if you see any tame or pet deer. The Law Enforcement Division Ranger Hotline is 1-800-241-4113.