The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

April 20, 2013

DNR says leave young wildlife alone

Each spring, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officials work to remind people to leave all young wildlife alone.

“The spring season is the time of year when the woods and fields of West Virginia are full of new life,” said Gene Thorn, wildlife biologist at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in French Creek.

“People have a great opportunity to view and enjoy young wildlife during this season, but it is especially important for the public to understand the need to avoid touching or disturbing these wild animals.”

Attempts to “rescue” young wildlife are often counter-productive, according to Thorn.

People can increase the chance of harm to young animals by getting too close, officials warn.

Humans leave scent that may attract a predator, according to officials.

“Wildlife viewing is an enjoyable and perfectly acceptable activity;” however, state Division of Natural Resources staff recommend the pastime be conducted from a safe distance and with the aid of binoculars.

“In addition to being detrimental to the welfare of young animals, handling wildlife potentially may expose humans to various wildlife-associated diseases, parasites and other health-related risks,” Thorn emphasized.

“Rabies, roundworms and other parasites such as lice and ticks can be transmitted to humans through the improper handling of wildlife.”


The Wildlife Center as well as DNR offices across West Virginia receive numerous calls each year concerning young wildlife, especially fawn deer that have been picked up by well-meaning residents.

“Many people often mistake a bedded fawn, with no mother in sight, as abandoned, but that is usually not the case,” according to officials.

Offspring are often hidden while the adult goes in search of food, and this separation may last for a few hours or all day, according to a spokesperson.

The spotted pattern and coloration of fawns as well as the lack of scent make these young animals difficult for predators to detect.

If a predator approaches a fawn, the young deer will normally hold very still until the threat passes, the spokesperson explained.

The fawn will wait until the very last moment before fleeing to safety if discovered by a predator, according to officials.

The doe will come back to check on her fawn at feeding time.

“Hiding the fawn and leaving it while the doe searches for food is an important survival tactic,” Thorn said.

“Humans are poor substitute parents for wild animals, because young wildlife require special diets and learn survival skills from their parents,” Thorn explained.

Removing the young wildlife from its natural environment almost certainly leads to death of the animal.


Additionally, officials caution, state laws prohibit the possession of wildlife without a permit.

“Under any circumstances, when you pick up a young animal in the wild you have taken it into your possession,” according to officials.

The fines for illegal possession of a fawn deer, black bear cub, baby raccoon, squirrel, or any other species taken or possessed during the closed season range from $20 up to a maximum of $1,000 and/or up to 100 days in jail.

“We want everyone to enjoy wildlife in West Virginia,” Thorn said. “For your own health and safety and to protect the wildlife, remember these wild animals should be left alone and allowed to stay wild.”

— E-mail:


Text Only
Latest News
  • Ex-state agency worker pleads guilty to fraud

    A former case worker for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is facing up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to fraud.

    July 22, 2014

  • Saints 1 Greenbrier ready for Saints

    The goal posts are up. The lines are on the field. The closets are stocked with Gatorade and the pads and helmets are hanging in the lockers. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Auto Fair winner Auto Fair attracts 15,000 visitors despite cool weather

    Although Mother Nature fast-forwarded to September temperatures throughout the weekend of the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, thousands of people came out to see the show and support the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • W.Va. health officials find clinic reused its needles

    Health officials on Monday advised patients of a West Virginia pain management clinic to be tested for blood-borne infectious diseases after an investigation found that needles had been reused.

    July 22, 2014

  • TWV raises $1,700 for Just For Kids

    Theatre West Virginia provides the southern part of the Mountain State an opportunity to see live, outdoor dramas, but this year, it’s giving back even more.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVDA expanding Hemlock Woolly Adelgid program

    Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick has announced that the West Virginia Department of Agriculture's (WVDA) Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) Program has expanded to include all counties currently infested with HWA.

    July 21, 2014

  • Two in custody after allegedly beating Whitesville man

    Two men remained in Southern Regional Jail Monday morning after they allegedly beat up another man in his home in Whitesville. The West Virginia State Police would not release the name of the victim, who came to Raleigh General Hospital on his own.

    July 21, 2014

  • Impersonating an officer

    More details emerged Sunday from the Mercer County Sheriff Department’s investigation into a male subject who used a blue, bubble-style dash light to initiate a traffic stop of a female driver Friday night on Route 20 near Athens.

    July 21, 2014

  • 'Ghost murals' being restored across Appalachia

    Coca-Cola Consolidated is working across Appalachia to restore “ghost murals.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Kids Take Nashville Stanaford girl sings for ‘Kids Take Nashville’ CD

    A Raleigh County girl has gone Nashville, and she’s asking West Virginians to show the Mountaineer Spirit by helping her win the 2014 Gospel Artist award and the Young Guns/Horizon Award 2014 at Clay’s Country Radio.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo