Leashed Buck Euthanized, Captive Fawn Rescued From Georgia Residence

by Amy Myers
Photo by Linda Davidson/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

Disturbing news has surfaced from Georgia as several videos and photos demonstrate residents treating bucks, does, and fawns as pets in their yards. Now, the state’s wildlife officials have had to euthanize one deer and rescue another. As a result, they’ve issued a warning with a clear message – enough was enough.

The prospect of keeping wildlife wild is something that natural resource officers are struggling with across the country. Whether intentionally or not, folks are jeopardizing the survival of these animals by feeding, petting and approaching them. Not only does this make them dependent on humans for food sources. It can also force them to become more aggressive towards other species as well.

And that’s exactly what happened when Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division attempted to rescue a buck and fawn from their captive state in a resident’s fenced yard.

Initially, a local reported a sighting of a young, leashed buck to the East Comb DNR. Upon discovering the animal’s state, officers tried releasing the buck back into the wild. Unfortunately, though, the damage was done.

“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.

Released Buck Begins Herding Locals on Boardwalk

Once free from its binding, the buck didn’t just run off into the woods and live its natural life, foraging for greens and berries and passing on its genes. Instead, it wandered right back into society and into trouble.

“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 of the incident.

Sure enough, a video soon surfaced showing the same deer ushering folks off of the walkway. It may seem cute now, while the animal is still small. But it’s not as endearing when he develops higher testosterone levels and much larger antlers.

Sadly, it was because of the buck’s inconsiderate captor that DNR officials had to euthanize it.

“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.

Wildlife Officials Also Rescue Fawn From Wrongful Captivity

And the young buck wasn’t the only one in need of rescue. Also in Georgia, a couple of residents picked up a pair of fawns that they believed the mother had abandoned. Not only were they wrong about this, but the people didn’t even surrender the animals to a proper wildlife rehabilitator to give them back their chance at survival. Instead, they kept them in a cage.

“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.

Tragic as these stories are, they are a necessary reminder that wildlife needs to remain separate from urban life for the safety and survival of all species involved.