Original Published on Jul 19, 2022 at 11:32

By Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says anyone coming across fawns alone in the wild should keep their hands to themselves.  

It’s the best way to protect the wildlife, according to Fort St. John CO Ellen Pedersen, who notes adult deer are likely nearby foraging with their offspring being perfectly safe.  

“The best thing to do if you come across one is to just leave it. Typically give it 48 hours and if the animal is still there, and it hasn’t been picked up by the doe or the cow, then it’s a little bit different,” said Pedersen. “But all day is pretty normal for fawns and calves, they can be left alone.”  

 In June, a fawn was rescued by the Fort St. John RCMP after it was found in the backseat of a vehicle during a traffic stop and drug seizure. The fawn has since been brought to a local wildlife sanctuary, and the COs’ investigation remains ongoing.

It’s important to know that baby ungulates are typically scentless so as to not be identified by predators – and human touch does leave a scent. 

“Predators can’t really pick up on them, and that’s why they’re left there. They can be tucked away and kept safe while the doe or cow goes out and feeds,” Pedersen.  

And be bear aware  

Meanwhile, over a seven-year period, 3,779 black bears were killed across British Columbia in government-sanctioned euthanizations to protect the public.  

Provincial stats were released early this month for 2021, flagging Prince George, 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Burns Lake and Vernon as being among the deadliest communities for bears, with 110 put down in the five communities combined last year.

The Peace region saw far fewer bear casualties, with four in Chetwynd, three each in Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson, two each in Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge, and one in Hudson’s Hope. There were none in Taylor and Pouce Coupe.  

Pedersen said the region can attribute the lower causality rate to having a smaller bear population compared to the rest of the province.  

“We don’t have the bear population that other parts of the province have, we’re more prairie-based,” she said. “Typically, people are pretty quick to call us if an animal is getting into something like garbage.”  

She added that the public’s quick response gives time for action, such as placing secure metal lids on bins, which further deters bears.  

Problem wildlife can be reported to the RAPP line anytime at 1-877-952-7277. 

This item reprinted with permission from Alaska Highway News, Fort St. John, British Columbia