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Game and Fish: Leave young wildlife alone

Ruidoso News

Fawns, and other wildlife, are abundant throughout Ruidoso and Lincoln County. The adorable babies are still young enough to have their spots. (Dianne L. Stallings/Ruidoso News)

RUIDOSO – As the summer season unfolds, officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish remind the public to leave alone any deer or antelope fawns, elk calves, bear cubs or other wild animals they may find.

Young animals that people discover are most likely hiding while awaiting their parents’ return from foraging nearby, according to a release from the state agency.

Removing these young animals can cost them their lives, Orrin Duvuvuei, department deer and pronghorn biologist, warned.

“You might think it has been abandoned, but, in reality, the mother is typically a few hundred yards away,” Duvuvuei said. “In most cases, the best thing to do is just leave it alone and quietly leave the area.”

Returning a young wild animal to its natural environment after it has been carried off by a human can be very difficult and may not work in many cases, Duvuvuei said.

If young wildlife is spotted, officials urged the public to:

Not approach. Its mother is likely close by and aware that a human is in the area.

Leave the area quickly and quietly.

Observe the animal from several yards away, they said. Typically, wildlife babies that appear to be dry have bonded with their mothers, and a person can take their pictures from a safe distance, but don’t linger in the area or touch the animal.

If the public thinks an animal has been abandoned, if possible, mark the location using a GPS and contact the department by calling 888-248-6866.

For more information about living with wildlife in New Mexico, visit