Outdoor notes

Jim FreemanIn The Open

June 28, 2013

Animal ‘orphans’ usually aren’t

This is the time of year that wildlife professionals get calls from concerned people regarding “abandoned” whitetail deer fawns.

Unless you actually see the mother killed, i.e. struck by a car right in front of you, the assumption should be that the fawn is simply hiding. Deer aren’t always the smartest of animals, so sometimes the mother will attempt to “hide” its baby in plain sight; in most cases the fawn will simply lay there, giving people the impression that it has been “abandoned.” Very rarely do animal mothers abandon their young, in most cases the mother may be nearby but afraid to approach because of the presence of a large predator – you!

The fawn doesn’t need to be rescued. Leave it alone (and make sure your dogs leave it alone), and the mother will come and get it when she feels it is safe to approach.

By the way, in most instances it is illegal for private citizens to possess wild animals, so don’t try to adopt the wild baby. In most cases these situations end in heartbreak. What generally happens is that the person finds they are unable to care for the animal and it is ultimately destroyed because deer rehabilitators are few and far between.

The Division of Wildlife also offers the following tips to help avoid wildlife orphans:

- Check for nests before cutting down a tree or clearing brush. It is best to cut trees and clear brush in the autumn when nesting season is over.

- Place caps on all chimneys, vents and window wells to prevent animals from nesting there.

- Keep your pets under control so that they do not injure wild animals.

- Educate children to respect wild animals and their habitat, and not to try and catch or harass them.

- Exercise caution when driving and watch the roadsides for wild animals, especially at dawn and dusk.

- Conserve habitat for wildlife.

For more information refer to the Ohio Division of Wildlife pamphlet “Wildlife Orphans? Think Before You Act” available at or call the Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife, District 4 office at 740-589-9930.

Hunter Education Camp slated

Camp Heritage, Inc, in conjunction with the Athens Fish & Game Club and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, is hosting the annual Hunter Education Camp the weekend of July 12-14, 2013. According to the Division of Wildlife, the camp is held for youths ages 9-15 who have not successfully completed a hunter education course. Pre-registration is required and is limited to the first 50 campers.

During the three-day camp each participant, under full supervision, will shoot .22 rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, and archery equipment. They will also learn wilderness survival skills, first aid, and hunter ethics. This is a sleepover event with participants staying in cabins provided by the camp. The participants will be grouped by gender for sleeping. Adult staff will also be camping overnight.

Please note this is for youth who have not already successfully completed a hunter education course. There is no charge for participants, as the weekend is grant funded and operated by Division of Wildlife staff, members of the Athens Fish & Game Club, certified instructors, and local sportsmen and sportswomen. Upon successful completion of the course (pass test with a score of 80% or better) participants will be issued an official certification card necessary for all first time license purchases.

The Camp Heritage facility is located at 600 Robinette Ridge Road, New Marshfield. For more information or to register for the workshop, please contact Tara Riley at 740-591-9650, or check out the Camp Heritage website at

Jim Freeman is wildlife specialist for the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District and a long-time contributor to the Sunday Times-Sentinel. He can be contacted weekdays at (740) 992-4282 ext. 109 or at