Written by Steven Bridges, LSON contributor
An anonymous tip of a whitetail buck being held in a pen at a residence in Goldthwaite, led Mills County Game Warden Vance Flowers to investigate recently.
Flowers located the buck in a pen in the back yard of the residence. Following further investigation, Flowers called a local rancher with experience darting wildlife for relocation.
“First, a resident of the house fed the whitetail a piece of bread soaked in anesthesia,” said Flowers. “But, the deer didn’t eat all of the bread and it didn’t fall asleep. So, we ended up having to dart the buck anyway.”
After the buck succumbed to the anesthesia, the group loaded the deer in the warden’s truck for relocation.
“Once we got the buck loaded up, we took it to a local ranch and laid it out in a pasture, ” said Flowers. “We then gave the deer a shot to reverse the effects of the anesthesia. He was up and about in no time.”
According to Flowers, the buck was seen later that afternoon doing fine at the ranch. It remains to be seen if the buck will be able to make it in the wild.
“If you take in a wild deer, you are drastically reducing its chances of making it the wild, ” said Flowers. “Not only is it a crime, it is bad for the animal.”
The resident was charged with unlawful possession of live wild game (white-tailed deer).
According to Flowers, it is very common for people to encounter seemingly orphaned or abandoned deer. Mother deer typically leave their fawns bedded down while they are away foraging.
“I get a lot of calls each year about seemingly abandoned fawns,” said Flowers. “My advice is always the same… leave the fawn alone.”
A recent study conducted by TDPW found that, in some years, 40 percent or more of the deer fawns referred to her were not orphans or injured, but “kidnapped” from their mothers. While most of these animals are picked up by well-meaning persons, it is important to realize that many such human-animal encounters are unnecessary and can even be detrimental to the wildlife concerned.
“Remember, a young deer’s best chance for survival is with its natural mother, not humans,” said Flowers. “Leaving the fawn alone will ensure that it retains all of its natural faculties and behaviors for survival in the wild.”
Photos by Steven Bridges